Santos in Oaxaca's Ancient Churches

A study of santos in 16th-century and other churches in Oaxaca, Mexico


By Claire and Richard Stracke
Funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

In San Pablo Huitzo:

Christ at the Pillar
Christ Child
Christ Fallen with the Cross
Christ in a Coffin
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Sacred Heart of Jesus
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Hyacinth
St. Isidore the Laborer
St. John the Baptist
St. John the Evangelist

St. Mary Magdalene
St. Michael the Archangel
St. Paul
St. Peter of Verona
St. Peter the Apostle
Unidentified female saint
Unidentified saint
Virgin and Child

Other santos not photographed

Christ at the Pillar

Christ at the Pillar:
The figure carries the marks of the whipping, and there is some blood on the legs, but the wounds inflicted later in the story of Good Friday are absent. The statue thus appears to have been part of a well planned narrative. The figure expresses not so much agony as a weary, patient humility as the wrists rest heavily on the pillar. The head has a delicate look and seems a bit small for the body, which is well-muscled and sturdy. The thickness of the statue at the hips and thighs suggests an older, polychrome loincloth beneath the red velvet. The statue is in good condition, though there are chips where the neck meets the shoulders.

Basis for Identification: Standing Christ, crossed hands tied to the top of a small pillar, wearing only a red loincloth.

Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.

Location: An altar along the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: glass eyes. Hair: sculpted.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Etla, Coixtlahuaca.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Christ at the Column
Catholic Encyclopedia: Devotion to the Passion of Christ
Wikipedia: Flagellation of Christ
Christian Iconography:  Jesus is Scourged...and Displayed to the Crowd

Next: On the altar, above and to the left of this one, a statue of Christ

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Introduction to San Pablo Huitzo

Santos Home Page

Note: On this site, references to the cardinal directions always assume that the main altar is at the east end of the church, the narthex or entry area at the west end, and the two walls of the nave on the north and south. (The nave is the long central section.) Actual orientations may differ.

The photo shown here is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. You are free to share or remix it on two conditions: first, that you attribute it to the photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without implying any approval of your work on their part; second, that if you alter, transform, or build upon this photo, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.