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

Virgin and Child

Virgin and Child:
The two figures are not of the same maker. The statue of the child seems of an earlier date. The face lacks the chubby baby look of many representations of the Christ child. It has a long nose and thin lips and looks as if it were the portrait of a specific person. The hair is very curly, light chestnut in color, and combed high with sideburns. The skin is exceptionally light. The body beneath the clothing is naked, with highly detailed feet and legs.

On the left hand, only the thumb is complete. On the right hand (which holds the rosary), the ring finger, index, and pinkie are missing.

The Virgin has an assembled look. The head is too large for the body, and the right hand is too large for the head, as if it were a male hand; the right index finger is missing. The left hand cannot be seen.

Basis for Identification: Full crown, white veil, blue mantle and dress.

Other characteristics: Rosary in the child's hand.

Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.

Location: In a glass case, on the center of the fourth altar along the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments, metal crown. Eyes: glass, with lashes. Hair: wig.

Size: Life size.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Coixtlahuaca, Coixtlahuaca2, Cuilapan, GuelaviaDíaz Ordaz1, Díaz Ordaz2, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Virgin Mary in Mexico
Christian Iconography: The Virgin and Child

Next: Moving ahead to the main altar, we find a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

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.