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 San Juan Teitipac:

Christ carrying the Cross
Christ: Ecce Homo (1)
Christ: Ecce Homo (2)
Christ in a coffin
Christ in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ") 1
Christ in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ") 2
Christ resurrected
Crucifix (1)
Crucifix (2)
Crucifix (3)
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Our Lady of Candlemas
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Assumption
Our Lady of the Rosary (1)
Our Lady of the Rosary (2)
Palm Sunday Christ
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Benedict
St. Hyacinth
St. Isidore the Laborer
St. John the Baptist (1)

St. John the Baptist (2)
St. John the Baptist, head of
St. Joseph
St. Nicholas Factor
St. Peter Avril
St. Peter the Apostle (1)
St. Peter the Apostle (2)
St. Simon Stock
Unidentified saint

Other santos not photographed

Head of St. John the Baptist

Head of Saint John the Baptist:
The eyes are unusually large and expressive. Plentiful blood shows at the base of the neck. The halo is in the form of six concentric rings and is attached to the head by a peg. Some paint has flaked from the right temple. The bowl and stand seem to be sculpted of one piece and not of the same quality as the head itself, which is of fine work.

Local Name: La Degollación de San Juan Bautista.

Basis for Identification: Severed head in a bowl, halo.

Site: Church of San Juan Teitipac.

Location: In a glass case on a white painted shelf on the south wall of the nave, above and to the left of the fresco of St. John's head (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, tin halo. Eyes: glass, with lashes. Hair: sculpted hair. Sculpted teeth.

Size: Life size.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: We found no other severed-head statues. For other statues of the saint, see Achiutla, Coixtlahuaca, Huitzo, Mitla, Tamazulapan, Tamazulapan (as child), Teitipac (life size), Teitipac (San Juanito), Teotitlán, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. John the Baptist in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. John the Baptist
Wikipedia: John the Baptist
Christian Iconography: St. John the Baptist, Prophet and Martyr

Next: A statue of Christ as on Good Friday

Previous santo

Introduction to San Juan Teitipac

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.