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:

Christ: Ecce Homo
Crucifix (2)
Crucifix (3)
Crucifixion Group
Holy Family
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Palm Sunday Christ
St. Anne (1)
St. Anne (2)
St. Anne (3)
St. Joseph
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)

Other santos not photographed


Set into the retablo to the left and right of the Misericordia are paintings of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist, respectively. The crown of thorns is in the basketweave pattern. Through the silk loincloth one can see the ridges of another carved loincloth. An edge of painted hair can be seen under the wig. The wound in the side is carved, but the others are merely painted.

The execution of the crucifix is less artistic than the rest of the retablo. The arms are disproportionately small for the body and for the cross, and their musculature is not as detailed as that of the chest and stomach. The painting of the face is rough, and the feet without detail.

Local Name: El Señor de la Misericordia.

Basis for Identification: Crown of thorns, loincloth, scutum, five wounds with blood, "INRI" plaque.

Site: Church of Santa Ana del Valle.

Location: Bottom half of the retablo of the altar at the center of the north wall of nave, beneath the Trinity case. (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, silk loincloth and scutum. Eyes: painted. Hair: wig over painted hair. Painted teeth.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: AchiutlaSanta Ana del Valle2, Santa Ana del Valle3, Cuilapan, Etla, Guelavia, Mitla, Nochixtlán, Tamazulapan1, Tamazulapan2, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teitipac3, Teitipac Our Lady of the Rosary, Teotitlán1, Teotitlán2, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Teposcolula3 (in Rosary case),  Teposcolula Convento1, Teposcolula Convento2, Tilantongo1, Tilantongo2, Tlacolula1, Tlacolula2, Xoxocotlán1, Xoxocotlán2, Xoxocotlán3, Xoxocotlán4, Yanhuitlán1, Yanhuitlán2, Yanhuitlán Convento1, Yanhuitlán Convento2, Yanhuitlán Convento3, Yanhuitlán Convento4, Yanhuitlán Convento5, Yanhuitlán Ayuxi Chapel, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Crucifixes in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: Archaeology of the Cross and Crucifix
Wikipedia: Crucifix
Christian Iconography: The Crucifixion

Next: Moving ahead to the main altar, we look first at a statue of St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr).

Previous santo

Introduction to Santa Ana del Valle

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.