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

Christ Seated in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ")

Christ Seated in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ"):
This is one of two similar santos in the church. The other one is on the Candelaria altar. The two resemble the "Dios de la Peña" santos of Tilantongo, Tlacolula, and Tlacochahuaya, which also represent Christ seated with the right elbow resting on the thigh and the right cheek resting on the right hand. But those figures wear purple robes, the crown of thorns (idealized as an embroidered headband in the case of Tilantongo), and pants of fine material. The clothes of the Teitipac examplars emphasize their poverty and humanity and thus their kinship with human sufferers.

The left hand has lost its index finger and the tip of the pinkie. The paint has flaked away from the heel and half the arch of the left foot. The fingers of the right hand are fused, as are the middle fingers of the left. The underlining of the eyes is red. The work suggests a village artist.

Local Name: Sr. Lopez gave us the name San Paciencia.

Basis for Identification: Seated, cheek on hand, in white cotton trousers ending in simple hems. Unlike others of this type, but similar to the other Teitipac San Paciencia, the figure has a dun cape and a red rag on the head (no crown of thorns, no halo). Blood streams from the forehead onto the face. A white lasso hangs from the neck to the knees, tied in a knot at the breastbone. The left hand curls as if to hold a sceptre.

Site: Church of San Juan Teitipac.

Location: On a small stand of rough wood along the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric clothing. Eyes: painted. Hair: sculpted hair.

Size: About 2 feet (60 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Ejutla, Etla, Guelavia, Tamazulapan, Teitipac2, Teposcolula, Tilantongo, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
The episode of the scourging and mockery of Jesus in the pretorium is in Mark 15:16-20.
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of the Man of Sorrows.

Next: Two statues of Our Lady of the Rosary

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.