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 Santo Domingo Ocotlán:

Calvary Group: Crucifix and St. John
Calvary Group: Our Lady of Sorrows
Calvary Group: St. Mary Magdalene
Calvary Group: God the Father
Palm Sunday Christ
Saint in fire
St. Joseph
St. Michael
St. Sebastian
Two Dominican saints
Unidentified Franciscan saint
Virgin Mary

Other santos not photographed

Calvary Group: St. Mary Magdalene

Calvary Group:
This glass case is in the chapel of El Señor de la Sacristía, on the south side of the church. It contains a crucifix in the center, St. John on the right, and the Virgin Mary and St. Mary Magdalene on the left.

St. Mary Magdalene

This figure sits on the floor of the scene, just to the right of the crucifix, the right hand touching the toes of the figure on the cross. It has a very life-like face with a thoughtful expression. The lips are thin and the eyes slightly elongated, giving it a Japanese look. The middle finger and pinkie of the right hand show repair; the left hand is out of sight.

Local Name: La Santa Magdalena

Basis for Identification: Halo, long brown hair with no veil.

Other characteristics: White robe, orange cape.

Site: Church of Santo Domingo Ocotlán.

Location: Calvary grouping at the south end of the chapel of El Señor de la Sacristía (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments, metal halo. Eyes: glass eyes. Hair: wig. Closed mouth.

Size: Life size.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Coixtlahuaca, Ejutla, HuitzoTamazulapan, Teotitlán, Teposcolula.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Mary Magdalene in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Mary Magdalene
Wikipedia: Mary Magdalene
Christian Iconography: St. Mary Magdalene, Follower of Christ

Next: Above the glass case, a relief of God the Father

Previous santo

Introduction to Santo Domingo Ocotlán

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.