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 Nochixtlán:

Calvary Group
Our Lady of Sorrows
Unidentified Female (Mary Magdalene?)

Other santos not photographed

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows:
The sculpted feet are visible at the hem. The custodian reports that the entire statue is flesh colored beneath the clothing. The mantle and wimple are pinned together tightly so as to reveal only the Virgin's face and bald forehead. The hands hold a white handkerchief. Pain and sorrow are strongly expressed in the face. The skin is very finely done and has a life-like sheen, though in some places it has been banged away, revealing the gesso and a dark pattern in gold and red.

Local Name: La Madre de los Dolores.

Basis for Identification: Eyes cast up, praying hands, sunburst diadem.

Other characteristics: Beige mantle, white wimple and handkerchief.

Site: Church of Santa María de la Asunción Nochixtlán.

Location: Left of the crucifix in the Calvary Group.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments. Eyes: glass, with no lashes. Hair: bald. Sculpted teeth with a suggestion of a tongue.

Size: About 5 feet (150 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Santa Ana del Valle, Coixtlahuaca, Cuilapan1, Cuilapan2, Ejutla, MitlaOcotlán, Díaz Ordaz, Tamazulapan, Teitipac, Teotitlán, Teposcolula (in Calvary group), Tlacolula, Xoxocotlán, Yanhuitlán (?), Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Mater dolorosa
Wikipedia: Our Lady of Sorrows
Christian Iconography: Mater Dolorosa, The Sorrowful Mother

Next: The statue on the right in the Calvary Group

Previous santo

Introduction to Asunción Nochixtlán

Santos Home Page

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.