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
Group: Crucifix and St. John
Saint in Fire
Saint in fire:
The glass of the case is streaked with wax left when parishioners rub candles across it in the sign of the cross. The candles are then taken home. Other parishioners were observed to bring marigolds from other parts of the church, rub them on the glass, and crumble the blossoms over the table in front of the santo.
One woman who was teaching her children this ritual was
asked the name of the saint. She replied that she had
forgotten, but that he was a very good saint.
Basis for Identification: Naked to the waist, tonsured, forked beard, standing in an octagonal vessel filled with flames. See the "Figure in Flames" section of the Ejutla Other Santos page for a discussion of the iconography.
Site: Church of Santo Domingo Ocotlán.
Location: West wall of the chapel in the north wall of the narthex, on a rough table (see note).
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: glass. Hair: sculpted hair. Closed mouth.
Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)
Moving ahead to the apse, we find a statue of St. Sebastian.
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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