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
| Kneeling saint:
Written in a vertical line from the right shoulder down to the right hem are the words CREO EN DIOS [TOD]O PODEROSO, the opening phrase of the Apostles' Creed. (The Nicene, the other familiar Creed familiar in Catholicism, begins "Creo en un solo Dios. . .") A nearby statue, also in apostolic garb and with a full head of hair, is emblazoned with the closing phrases of this same prayer.
It is possible the two statues represent some of the eponymous apostles of the Apostles Creed and that this santo, with its bald head and squarish beard, could represent St. Peter, the first of the apostles and the one most commonly identified with the virtue of Faith. However, this santo has no keys or triple cross, and two others nearby that also bear phrases from the Creed are almost certainly monks (see this one and that one).
Although the statue has been thickly and amateurishly repainted, the polychrome can be seen at the bent right knee and along the left hem of the cloak. The right knee and foot (one piece) are broken away from the main piece.
Other characteristics: Hands clasped in prayer, gazing up and to the left
Site: Former convento of San Pedro y
San Pablo, Teposcolula.
Location: Along the west wall of the long room along the west wall of the former convento (see note).
Media and construction: Polychrome, hollow. Eyes: glass. Inside the mouth one can see a sculpted tongue and a ridge for the teeth, although no teeth are present.
Size: About 2½
feet (75 cm.)
Creo en dios todo poderoso: (The santo shown above)
Criador [sic] del Cielo y de la Tierra: Cell with two santos
[Creo in Jesucristo su] único [hijo Nuestro Señor]: Cell with a monk and two bishops
Que fué concevido por ovra del Espíritu Santo y nació de Santa Maria Virgen: Cell with a monk and two bishops
Padeció devajo del pod[er de] Pon[cio] Pilato, fué crucificado, muerto, y sepultado: Cell with two santos
Al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos: (Not found, could be on the left figure in the Crucifixion Group)
Subió a los cielos y: (Not seen, may be on the collar preceding the next phrase)
Está sentado a la diestra de Dios padre todo poderoso: Cell with a monk and two bishops
Desde allí [ha de] venir [a] iuzgar [a] los vivos y a [l]os muertos: Crucifixion group
Creo en el Espíritu Santo la Santa Iglesia Catolica: Monk with book and church
La comunión de los santos: Unidentified priest
El perdón de los pecados: Monk with one arm
La Resurrección de la carne y la vida perduravle: Unidentified apostle
Introduction to Teposcolula
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.) In the case of the former convento at Teposcolula, directional references align with those of the Teposcolula church. 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.