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 El Tule's Church of Holy Mary of the Assumption:

Our Lady of the Assumption
St. Hedwig
Unidentified female saint
Unidentified male saint

Other santos not photographed

Unidentified Saint

Unidentified saint, possibly St. Joachim or St. Paul
The figure is dressed in gold polychrome edged in brown and highlighted with red. It complements the work of the statue on the right of the altar, which most likely represents St. Anne. Thus it could be that the group of three statues on the central level of the main altar represent Mary's family: St. Joachim, St. Ann, and the young Virgin. However, it is also possible that this is a statue of St. Paul, who is traditionally shown with a long beard and balding from the front of his head.
The hands are held one atop the other at clavicle level, palms turned toward the body, so they may have been intended to hold a sword, also a conventional attribute of St. Paul.

Site: Church of the Assumption, El Tule.

Location: Left end of the main altar.

Media and construction: Polychrome.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca (St. Joachim): We found none.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca (St. Paul): Etla, Mitla1, Mitla2, Huitzo, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2.

External Links (St. Joachim):
Wikimedia Commons:
Saint Joachim
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Joachim
Wikipedia: Joachim

External Links (St. Paul):
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Paul in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Paul
Wikipedia: Paul the Apostle
Christian Iconography: Saint Paul the Apostle

Next: On the right side of the altar, a statue of an unidentified female saint

Previous santo

Introduction to El Tule

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.