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 (1)
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. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)

Other santos not photographed
St. Joseph

Saint Joseph:
The face has been repainted with an artificial effect, especially at the left eye. The hands are more authentic in appearance, the muscles showing through realistically. The Christ Child is a separate sculpture on the left hand; it has been turned to face the visage of San José, which inclines, eyes closed, toward the child. The figure stands in polychrome sandals, feet spread apart. The lily stalk is held in a circle formed by the thumb and middle finger of the right hand, which is at shoulder height. There are a few small areas in the polychrome of the garments where the gold and paint have flaked away to reveal the gesso beneath. The polychrome is in the same style as that of the principal Santa Ana on the main altar.

Local Name: San José.

Basis for Identification: Lily rod in right hand, Christ child on left, both with full silver crowns.

Site: Church of Santa Ana del Valle.

Location: In a glass case in the retablo of the central altar along the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Polychrome (both figures). Metal crowns. Eyes: painted.

Size: About 4½ feet (135 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: AchiutlaCuilapan1, Cuilapan2, Mitla1, Mitla2, Ocotlán, Díaz Ordaz, Teitipac, Teotitlán, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Saint Joseph in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Joseph
Wikipedia: Saint Joseph
Christian Iconography: Saint Joseph, Father of Jesus

Next: Continuing right to the next altar, we find a statue of Our Lady of Candelaria.

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.