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

The Blessed Virgin

The Blessed Virgin
The size is unusually small for dressed statues. What appear to be statues of St. Anne and St. Joachim, both also approximately feet (105 cm.) tall, stand on shelves to the left and right of the statue.

Local Name: La Virgen de la Natividad.

Basis for Identification: The central figure was identified by Sr. Luís Mendoza as La Virgen de la Natividad. (The natividad of the name refers to the birth of Mary.) Full crown, hands out and up as if in greeting, gold fabric mantle. The paired statues on the left and right could be taken to be Joseph and Mary, but the male has a long beard, unlike any statue of St. Joseph that we studied. The female figure looks young, but otherwise her nun-like garments would lead us to identify her as Mary's mother, St. Anne, and the male figure as St. Joachim.

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

Location: In a glass case in the center of the main altar.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint (face and hands), fabric garments, tin or silver crown. Eyes: glass. Hair: wig.

Size: About feet (105 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: We found no other statues identified with the birth of Mary. For other statues of the Virgin (without the Christ Child), see Achiutla, Etla1 (in the Soledad group) Etla2, Guelavia1, Guelavia2, Nochixtlán, OcotlánTeotitlán2, Tilantongo1, Tilantongo2, Yanhuitlán1, Yanhuitlán2, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Virgin Mary in Mexico.

St. Anne (?)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Santa Ana del Valle 1, Santa Ana 2, Santa Ana 3

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Saint Anne in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Anne
Wikipedia: Saint Anne
Christian Iconography: Saint Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary

St. Joachim (?)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: We did not see any.

Next: Looking to the right of this altar, we find a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Previous santo

Introduction to Teotitlán del Valle

Santos Home Page

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.