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 Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe:
The angel at the bottom supports the blue cape on which the figure stands. The angel's left hand has lost its fingers. The Virgin's skin has a wonderful sheen; the hands are finely detailed. The moon has the look of real silver.

Local Name: La Virgen de Guadalupe

Basis for Identification: Full crown, crescent moon and angel, rays of light outlining entire figure.

Site: Church of the Assumption, Tlaxiaco.

Location: In a glass case in the center of the retablo of the first altar along the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments. Eyes: glass, no lashes. Hair: wig. Polychrome angel.

Size: About 5 feet (n cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Reproductions of the Juan Diego Image
Wikipedia: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Next: Beneath the glass case, a statue of an unidentified priest

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.) 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.