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
| Saint Sebastian:
The wig has fallen back from the forehead, revealing a painted cranium. The feet are large and almost shapeless. The legs are encrusted with wax, presumably from devotions. The flesh of the right hand has darkened almost to black. The right leg is slightly raised and the stand currently in use provides a block to support it.
Local Name: San Sebastián
Basis for Identification: The figure, naked but for a red loincloth and a narrow white pectoral sash, stands in the characteristic Saint Sebastian pose (right hand raised, left down, eyes up). The tree is in the usual stylized form that follows the outline of the body. The arrows are gone, but one can still see holes and blood flowing from them.
Site: Church of Santa María
de la Natividad (Preciosa Sangre de Cristo),
Teotitlán del Valle.
Location: Right of the first altar along the south wall of the narthex (see note).
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: glass. Hair: wig. Closed mouth.
Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)
in the narthex, a statue
of St. Mary Magdalene
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
of the nave on the
north and south. (The
nave is the long central section.)
Actual orientations may differ.
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photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without
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