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

St. Mary Magdalene

Saint Mary Magdalene:
The figure is bald under the dark brown wig, which is old and has been recut and restyled. The right hand hangs loosely next to the body. The fingers of the left hand have been broken off and the chalice has been tied on. The cover of the chalice is surmounted by a cross. The statue is dressed in blue and white. The face looks straight ahead, not to the side as is common with Magdalenas.

Local Name: La Santa Magdalena.

Basis for Identification: Chalice in extended left hand, halo.

Other characteristics: Blue robe, white cape.

Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.

Location: Left side of the altar in the first bay in the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Frame construction. Face and hands are wood, gesso, paint. Polyester garments. Eyes: painted. Hair: wig.

Size: Life size.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Coixtlahuaca, EjutlaOcotlán, Tamazulapan, Teotitlán, Teposcolula.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Mary Magdalene in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Mary Magdalene
Wikipedia: Mary Magdalene
Christian Iconography: St. Mary Magdalene, Follower of Christ

Next: In the center of this altar, a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad).

Previous santo

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.