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 Tlaxiaco:

Bust of the Virgin Mary
Christ carrying the Cross
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of the Assumption

Our Lady of the Rosary (no photograph)
Unidentified priest

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Our Lady of Mount Carmel:
Nothing is broken. Is this statue of modern construction? The surface of the face and hands has a powdery look as if of plaster, but it is conceivable that that look is an effect of the paint. Certainly the look is not nearly so powdery and dull as the typical plaster statues in U.S. churches. The figure wears earrings, four strings of pearls, a ring on the left middle finger, and a halo consisting of a circle of wire on which are set seven foil stars. The hair is done in a style like "dreadlocks." The Child is disproportionately small and sits awkwardly on the figure's left hand, with skin just like that of the Virgin.

Local Name: La Virgen del Carmen.

Basis for Identification: Christ Child, brown habit and bib, white veil, scapulars.

Site: Church of the Assumption, Tlaxiaco.

Location: Northwest area of the apse (see note).

Media and construction: Glass eyes, wig; parted lips.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Coixtlahuaca main altar, Cuilapan, Ejutla, Etla, Guelavia, Huitzo, Teitipac, TeposcolulaXoxocotlán, Zaachila, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in Mexico
Wikipedia: Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
Virgen del Carmen (in Spanish).
Christian Iconography: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Next: Also in the apse, a statue of Our Lady of the Assumption.

Previous santo

Introduction to Tlaxiaco

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.