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

The Trinity (Throne of Mercy)

The Trinity (Throne of Mercy):
The carving has a monumental quality in the weight of the folds, the large hands of the Father, the heavy gold dove, and the massive globe on which the crucifix stands. The Father's robes are simple green and gold with full sleeves ending in tight red cuffs. The ring finger and pinkie of the right hand are broken.

In the same glass case is a smaller Trinity, partly visible at the left of the picture above. The dove is missing and the crucifix simply leans against the chest of the seated Father rather than being held up by his hands. The figures seem older and more delicate than in the larger Trinity. The Father's robe has a design of green flowers and leaves on a white background.

Basis for Identification: Crucifix on a mappa mundi orb surmounted by a dove and held up by the Father, seated and in a triple tiara.

Other characteristics: INRI plaque, green cross, green and gold robes on the Father.

Site: Church of San Juan Teitipac.

Location: In a glass case in the north transept (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, cloth scutum and loincloth on the crucifix. Eyes: painted.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Diaz Ordaz, Mitla, TamazulapanTeotitlán, Tlacolula, XoxocotlánYanhuitlán 1, Yanhuitlán 2.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Throne of Mercy in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: The Blessed Trinity
Wikipedia: Trinity
Christian Iconography:
The Trinity

Next: In the south transept, a statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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. Many churches are built in the shape of a cross; the transept is the area corresponding to the horizontal arms of an actual cross.

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.