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:

Calvary group
Christ: Ecce Homo
Christ in a coffin

Christ resurrected
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Assumption (1)
Our Lady of the Assumption (2)
Palm Sunday Christ
St. Anthony of Padua
St. John the Baptist
St. Joseph (1)
St. Joseph (2)
St. Paul (1)
St. Paul (2)
St. Peter
Unidentified saint

Other santos not photographed

St. Paul

Saint Paul:
The figure has been completed repainted by a professional, but not restored, and the gleam of the original polychrome can be seen through the new paint. Cloth can be seen at the edge of the left sleeve. The tops of the left pinky and ring finger are gone. On the right hand, the top two joints of the pinky are missing.

The statue wears a green robe and a red mantle. It has a round beaten metal halo of a gold color. Medallions and chains have been hung from the hands. A long, painted sword has been tied to the right wrist a painted wooden book has been tied to the left hand.

Local Name: San Pablo.

Basis for Identification: Sword in the right hand, book in the left.

Other characteristics: Black hair and beard.

Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.

Location: On a shelf to the right of the Señor de la Misericordia, midway between the two ribs of the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Repainted polychrome. Eyes: painted.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: EtlaMitla2, Huitzo, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Paul in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Paul
Wikipedia: Paul the Apostle
Christian Iconography: Saint Paul the Apostle

Next: Moving along to past the second rib, a statue of an unidentified saint

Previous santo

Introduction to San Pablo Mitla

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.