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)
St. Anne (1)
St. Anne (2)
St. Anne (3)
St. Joseph
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
Palm Sunday Christ

Palm Sunday Christ:
The figure's look and gestures are traditional (right hand raised in salutation, left holding rein, straightforward gaze), but the torso is thicker than usual and the folds of the robe more deeply carved. The halo is also unusual, as is the blanket which serves as a saddle. The Christ figure seems to be carved of a single piece, robe and all, though the upper torso may well be separate and more naturally fitted to the lower robes than is usual. The figure has been tied onto the ass at the ankles. This fact, along with the blanket, suggests that the figure originally sat on a slightly larger ass. The wood has been harmed by worms.

Basis for Identification: On ass, right hand extended in salutation, left holding rein, gold-colored cruciform halo.

Site: Church of Santa Ana del Valle.

Location: Right end of the altar at the east end of the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: glass eyes.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.) from the figure's head to the ass's foot.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Santa Ana del Valle, Cuilapan, Mitla, Ocotlán, Díaz Ordaz, Tamazulapan, Teitipac, Teotitlán, Teposcolula, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Palmesel

Next: Other santos not photographed

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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.