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:
St. Mary Magdalene
Saint Mary Magdalene
Basis for Identification: We
identify this as the Magdalene because of the upturned
gaze, praying hands, and the uncovered
and apparently brown hair.
Other characteristics: Blue mantle –
thus possibly this could be a statue of Our Lady of
Sorrows, who is also represented with praying hands and
upturned gaze. But usually in Calvary scenes the
mother's head is covered and the Magdalene's head is
not. Another bit of negative evidence is the absence of
a sword piercing the breast, which is often, though not
always, a feature of images of the sorrowing mother.
Site: Church of Santa María de la Natividad, Tamazulapan.
Location: On the left side of the retablo in the second bay of the north wall of the nave (see note).
Comparable santos in Oaxaca (Our
Lady of Sorrows): Achiutla,
Santa Ana del
Ejutla, Mitla, Nochixtlán,
(in Calvary group), Tlacolula,
Xoxocotlán, Yanhuitlán (?).
the right side of this same retablo, a statue of an
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.
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