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 Tlacolula:

Christ: Ecce Homo
Christ in a coffin
Christ in the pretorium (Pensive Christ)
Crucifix 1
Crucifix 2
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of the Assumption
Palm Sunday Christ
St. Anthony of Padua
St. John the Evangelist
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)

Other santos not photographed

Trinity (Throne of Mercy)

Trinity (Throne of Mercy):
This is the typical representation of the Trinity in the older Oaxaca churches. The dove is missing, but there is a bare place for it at the top of the cross. The statue seems to have been made for another base: the Father's shoes stick out beyond the base. Their soles are of unfinished wood, although the tips of the soles have been gessoed and painted. The beard is carved and stylized, with flat, symmetrical curls. The polychrome robe has a simple crosshatched pattern. The throne is a relatively simple chair of green painted wood, the back topped by a fantail design and the uprights by turned knobs.

Basis for Identification: Crucifix on a mappa mundi orb held up by the Father, seated and in a triple tiara.

Site: Church of the Assumption, Tlacolula.

Location: On a shelf on the south wall of the east transept of the Chapel (see note).

Media and construction: Polychrome. Eyes: painted. Hair: carved.

Size: About feet (105 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Diaz Ordaz, Mitla, Tamazulapan, Teitipac, TeotitlánXoxocotlán, Yanhuitlán 1, Yanhuitlán 2.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Throne of Mercy in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: The Blessed Trinity
Wikipedia: Trinity
Christian Iconography:
The Trinity

Next: Moving over to the west transept, we find a statue of St. Anthony of Padua

Previous santo

Introduction to Tlacolula

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.) In the case of the Chapel of the Lord of Tlacolula, which is at right angles to the south wall of the church, the altar is thus at the south end and the transept (the two wings that give the building the shape of a cross) comprises an east and west 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.