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:
The Crucifixion Group:
Crucifix and Resurrected Christ
The crosspieces are green dowels, rounded and grooved at the ends rather than being capped. The extremities are damaged. Some of the detailing has been lost because of the thick re-painting. Like the larger crucifix behind it, the figure has lesions on the shoulders where the cross would have been carried.
Local Name: El Señor de la Misericordia.
Basis for Identification: INRI plaque, sculpted white perizoma.
Other characteristics: No
scutum, no crown of thorns.
To the right is a third, brightly colored Misericordia,
this one recent and of folk manufacture.
Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Santa Ana del Valle1, Santa Ana del Valle2, 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.
Basis for Identification: Holding a floor-length cross in right hand, as in Resurrection art.
Other characteristics: Barefoot and naked except for brief sculpted loincloth and a recently added white cotton sash to cover the upper chest (in other words, dressed as he had been for the crucifixion).
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint.
Size: About 2 feet (60 cm.)
Site: Church of Santa Ana del Valle.
Location: Altar at the east end of the south wall of the nave, to the left of the large central crucifix (see note).
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.