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 Teotitlán del Valle:

Christ Child
Christ in a coffin
Christ: Ecce Homo
Crucifix (1)
Crucifix (2)
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary
Palm Sunday Christ
Resurrection of Christ
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Hyacinth
St. John the Baptist
St. John the Evangelist
St. Joseph (?)
St. Mary Madgalene
St. Peter the Apostle (1)
St. Peter the Apostle (2)
St. Sebastian
Trinity

Unidentified Franciscan saint
Virgin Mary (1)

Virgin Mary (2)

Other santos not photographed

St. John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist
The animal-skin garment is part of the carving and is unusual in covering the chest and shoulders and in the heavy multiple layering of the pelts that form the skirt. The book and lamb have been crudely tied to the left hand with a ribbon. The right hand is damaged.

Local Name: San Juan Bautista.

Basis for Identification: Animal skins, book and lamb on left hand, floor-length gold-colored cross in right.

Site: Church of Santa María de la Natividad (Preciosa Sangre de Cristo), Teotitlán del Valle.

Location: In a niche in the retablo of the altar near the east end of the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric cape. Eyes: painted. Hair: carved hair.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Coixtlahuaca, Huitzo, Mitla, Tamazulapan, Tamazulapan (as child), Teitipac, Teitipac (Beheading), Teitipac (San Juanito), 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


St. Michael the Archangel

Local Name: San Miguel.

Basis for Identification: Sword, military garb, wings, halo.

Other characteristics: A shield inscribed with the words Quien como Dios (Who [is] like God).

Location: In front of the statue of St. John the Baptist.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla1, Achiutla2, Achiutla3, Achiutla4, Cuilapan, Huitzo, Ocotlán, TamazulapanTeposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Teposcolula3, Yanhuitlán, Yanhuitlán Crucifix Group.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Michael in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Michael the Archangel
Wikipedia: Michael (archangel)
Christian Iconography: Saint Michael the Archangel


Next: Midway along the south wall, a statue of St. Joseph

Previous santo

Introduction to Teotitlán del Valle

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.