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

Unidentified Franciscan saint
Virgin Mary (1)

Virgin Mary (2)

Other santos not photographed

Palm Sunday Christ

Palm Sunday Christ:
It is difficult to gauge the quality of the original artistry because the statue has deteriorated severely. Nevertheless, on the inside of the right sleeve the lush colors and bold detailing of the flowered polychrome suggest the high quality of the statue when it was new. The figure sits with the left foot extended confidently forward. Today the face has lost most of the detailing and some of the paint. The right hand is decayed, the right foot is rotten, and the ass has deteriorated. The palm branch is made of modern aluminum foil.

Basis for Identification: Ass, red fabric cape over polychrome robes, palm branch, no wounds.

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

Location: Left of the first altar along the south wall of the narthex (see note).

Media and construction: Polychrome, fabric cape. Eyes: glass eyes. Hair: carved.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Santa Ana del Valle, Cuilapan, Mitla, Ocotlán, Díaz Ordaz, Tamazulapan, TeitipacTeposcolula, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Link:
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Palmesel

Next: Moving inside to the north wall of the nave, we find a statue of St. Hyacinth.

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.