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

Our Lady of the Rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary:
The Virgin's polychrome robe has a fanciful design of red, black, and gold. It falls straight down from the neck, caught loosely by a belt at the waist, with few folds. The sleeves are narrow and long. There is long carved hair under the wig. The face is plain, the mouth pinched, the nose pointed. The hands are carefully detailed. The fingers are held in the sign of benediction rather than in a position more natural for holding a rosary, suggesting the figure may originally have had a different purpose. The child too seems extraneous to the original composition. It seems out of proportion and is undistinguished and probably modern. At the feet of the statue is another Christ child (wood, gesso, and paint).

Local Name: La Virgen del Rosario.

Basis for Identification: Rosary in Virgin's right hand, child sitting on palm of left hand with rosary hanging from the neck.

Other characteristics: Full crown on the Virgin, diadem on the child. Red cape on theVirgin, with a white lining.

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

Location: In a glass case on an altar at the east end of the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction (Virgin): Polychrome, fabric cape, metal crown. Eyes: glass. Hair: wig. Closed mouth.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Coixtlahuaca, Cuilapan, Teitipac1, Teitipac2,
Teposcolula, Xoxocotlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Our Lady of the Rosary in Mexico
Wikipedia: Our Lady of the Rosary
Christian Iconography: Our Lady of the Rosary

Next: Also near the east end of the south wall, a statue of St. John the Baptist

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.