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

Saint Isidore the Laborer

Saint Isidore the Laborer:
Sr. Lopez recounted the story of San Isidro. He was plowing the field when he heard the church bells. Rushing off to mass, he abandoned his team of oxen. When he returned, he found that an angel had completed his plowing for him. The oxen figures are given as gifts to the church by the mayordomías on San Isidro's feast day, May 15, at which time farmers bring their teams of oxen to be blessed.

The saint is shown driving a team of four muzzled oxen, which are disproportionately small. A red ox stands beside the team, and an 18 inch (45 cm.) angel stands behind the figure and to its left. The figure wears a flat-topped hat with a rolled brim, a tunic reaching to mid-thigh, trousers, and boots. The cape is blue. Bare wood shows through at the lower right breast, where the gesso has chipped away.

Local Name: San Isidro Labrador

Basis for Identification: Hat, team of oxen, angel, water gourd, basket, goad.

Other characteristics: Blue cape with gold fringe.

Site: Church of San Juan Teitipac.

Location: Under a canopy in the narthex (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric cape. Eyes: painted eyes; 3'3".

Size: About 3 feet 3 inches (99 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Coixtlahuaca, Huitzo, TamazulapanTeposcolula, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Saint Isidore the Laborer in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Isidore the Labourer
Wikipedia: Isidore the Laborer
Christian Iconography: Saint Isidore the Laborer

Next: The santos of the north wall of the nave, starting with a statue of St. Simon Stock

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.