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 Santa Ana del Valle:
St. Anne (?)
Saint Anne (?)
Local Name: Santa Ana
Basis for Identification: Full
crown on adult, no crown on child, child on the left
hand, rosary hanging from the right. Identifying
the statue is somewhat of a problem. The blush on the
child's cheeks, the cut of the wig, and the long hair
with no crown would be consistent with assuming that it
is a child Mary and that the adult is therefore Saint
Anne. Perhaps the rosary would not be consistent with
such an assumption, though presumably it was added some
time after the creation of the statue.
The child has no rosary and holds
the fingers of the right hand as if about to form them
for the sign of the cross: pinkie and ring finger
closing toward palm, thumb bending toward the extended
index and middle fingers. This gesture, very much like
that of the child in the
Teitipac Candelaria, would be consistent with
taking the figure to be the Christ child. The way the
adult's sculpted hair fans over the shoulders is also
suggestive of representations of the Virgin, as is the
blue color of the cape.
All things considered, because of
the absence of a crown on the child, the treatment of
its hair and blush, and the fact that this church is
dedicated to St. Anne, we are going to assume that these
figures represent Anne and Mary.
Other characteristics: Red and gold robe with blue cape.
Site: Church of Santa Ana del Valle.
Location: In a glass case in the retablo of the altar at southeast corner of the nave (see note).
Media and construction: Polychrome. Metal crown. Both figures have wigs, painted eyes, no lashes. The adult's garments are stiffened cloth; the child has fabric garments, face of wood, gesso, paint.
Size: About 5 feet (150 cm.)
Moving left along the south wall of the nave, we find an
altar with a grouping of
figures of the Holy Family.
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.