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. Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel:
The statue may originally have been a Mary Magdalene, with sorrowful face, glance cast up and to the right, a long wig, and hands held up in prayer. The sword has been tied onto the right hand and the vexillum leans into the crook of the left arm. The right calf is showing and is finished and realistic. The greaves are realized in cloth, as are the armor and what appears to be intended as a helmet. The fingers of both hands are severely damaged, with only stumps remaining in the left hand. The right foot also shows deterioration.

Local Name: San Miguel.

Basis for Identification: Military tunic and stockings, sword, vexillum.

Other characteristics: Red cape.

Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.

Location: On the left of an altar along the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: glass eyes. Hair: wig. Parted lips.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla1, Achiutla2, Achiutla3, Achiutla4, Cuilapan, Ocotlán, Tamazulapan, Teotitlán, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Teposcolula3, Yanhuitlán, Yanhuitlán Crucifix Group.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Michael in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Michael the Archangel
Wikipedia: Michael (archangel)
Christian Iconography: Saint Michael the Archangel

Next: Also along the south wall, a statue of Christ fallen under the cross

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.