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

St. Peter the Apostle

Saint Peter:
This figure was certainly originally intended as Saint Dominic. It has a tonsure and the characteristic star-tipped cross between the eyes. (In this case the cross is red.) The figure wears a white cassock and a chasuble of red brocade with exactly the same Trinity design as the other Teotitlán St. Peter's chasuble. The face is delicate and has slightly slanted eyes; a long, aquiline nose; and ears close to the head. The barrel shape taken by the cassock suggests the statue may have solid clothing beneath, perhaps of polychrome. Another indication that the statue may be from the time of polychrome is simply the fact that this is St. Dominic and the Dominicans were expelled from Oaxaca in the seventeenth century. The halo is of elaborate cutwork. The left hand is chipped.

Local Name: San Pedro.

Basis for Identification: Identified as San Pedro by a woman in the congregation.

Other characteristics: Red chasuble over white cassock.

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

Location: On an altar along the south wall of the nave, just past the narthex (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments. Eyes: glass.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca (St. Peter): Coixtlahuaca, Etla, Huitzo, Mitla, Díaz Ordaz, Tamazulapan, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teotitlán1Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2Yanhuitlán.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca (St. Dominic): Teposcolula (Our Lady of the Rosary case), Yanhuitlán (Church) 1,
Yanhuitlán (Church) 2, Yanhuitlán (Museum).

External Links (St. Peter):
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Peter in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles
Wikipedia: Saint Peter
Christian Iconography: Saint Peter the Apostle

External Links (St. Dominic):
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Dominic in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Dominic
Wikipedia: Saint Dominic
Christian Iconography:
Saint Dominic

Next: A statue of the Virgin Mary

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.