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 María de la Natividad, Tamazulapan:

Christ in a Coffin
Christ in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ")

Christ: Ecce Homo
Crucifix (1)
Crucifix (2)
The Immaculate Conception
Our Lady of Sorrows
Palm Sunday Christ
Sacred Heart of Jesus
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Isidore the Laborer
Unidentified Saint
St. John the Baptist (Child)
St. Mary Magdalene
St. Michael the Archangel
St. Peter the Apostle

St. Teresa of Avila
Unidentified Saint

Other santos not photographed

The Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception

Basis for Identification: Most of the attributes of this santo are shared with those of Our Lady of the Assumption: Horned moon, blue mantle over white dress. But it is only in Immaculate Conception images that we find the halo of stars seen in this santo. In Oaxaca the praying-hands gesture can be found in both types of santos, though elsewhere Assumption images rarely include it.

Site: Church of Santa María de la Natividad, Tamazulapan.

Location: In a glass case in the center of the retablo in the third bay of the north wall of the nave (see note).

Comparable santo in Oaxaca (Immaculate Conception): Tlaxiaco.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca (Assumption): Coixtlahuaca, Ejutla1, Ejutla2, Mitla1, Mitla2Teitipac, Tlacolula, Tule.

External Links:
Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception
Wikipedia: Immaculate Conception
Christian Iconography: The Immaculate Conception

Next: At the very end of the nave, where it meets the apse, we find a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Previous santo

Introduction to Santa María de la Natividad

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.