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 Mitla:
St. John the Baptist
| St. John the Baptist:
Fingertips missing from right hand. The cross is tied on. The left hand lacks the thumb and joints on the index, the middle finger, and the pinky. A coin has been tied on with a complicated knot. The statue is one with the andas, whose polychrome matches the mantle.
The figure is an uncomfortable ensemble. The arms and the torso are disproportionate to the head, and it may be that the statue has been reconstructed. The garments and the head are of good workmanship.
The polychromed animal skin is white. The red and gold mantle has a complicated design of arabesques, flowers and cross-bars, and is lined in a pattern of cheerful gold wildflowers on a dark background with 3 stripes of gold every 6 inches. The work is reminiscent of patterns seen at Mitla and at Santa Ana del Valle. The polychrome is in good condition, though the andas has cracked and peeled.
Local Name: San Juan Bautista.
Basis for Identification: Wearing animal skin and a mantle, right shoulder bare. Cross in the right hand, left hand extended.
Other characteristics: Beard and long, very curly hair.
Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.
Media and construction: Polychrome on decorated andas. Hair: carved.
Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)
the main altar, a statue of
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
of the nave on the
north and south. (The
nave is the long central section.)
Actual orientations may differ.
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