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 the church of Santa
Elena de la Cruz, Xoxocotlán
The ribs form an arc that is wider than in the other crucifix in this chapel. Rather than triangles, the design takes the shape of a bow, arcing from the right hand out to the left hip and then back and down to the ankles. Another bow is formed by a line that bisects the arc of the abdomen and creates a space which repeats the bow of the body.
The musculature of the upper body is well
portrayed. The loincloth is purple. The crown is neatly
woven in the basketweave pattern and is smaller in
height than the one on the other crucifix in the chapel.
The hands are hollow, as can be seen where the fingers
are broken. The figure is held in place by a white
fabric band at the chest. The two pieces of the cross
are dowel-shaped wood, painted green and have brass
Local Name: El Señor de la
Basis for Identification: Wounds and blood, crown of thorns, loincloth.
Other characteristics: No INRI
Site: Church of Santa Elena de la Cruz, Xoxocotlán.
Location: East wall of the first chapel in the north wall of the narthex (see note).
Media and construction: Wood (hollow sound when knocked), gesso, paint, fabric loincloth, rope crown. Eyes: closed, no lashes. Hair: wig.
Size: About 5 feet (150 cm.)
Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Santa Ana del Valle1, Santa Ana del Valle2, Santa Ana del Valle3, Cuilapan, Etla, Guelavia, Mitla, Nochixtlán, Tamazulapan1, Tamazulapan2, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teitipac3, Teitipac Our Lady of the Rosary, Teotitlán1, Teotitlán2, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Teposcolula3 (in Rosary case), Teposcolula Convento1, Teposcolula Convento2, Tilantongo1, Tilantongo2, Tlacolula1, Tlacolula2, Xoxocotlán1, Xoxocotlán3, Xoxocotlán4, Yanhuitlán1, Yanhuitlán2, Yanhuitlán Convento1, Yanhuitlán Convento2, Yanhuitlán Convento3, Yanhuitlán Convento4, Yanhuitlán Convento5, Yanhuitlán Ayuxi Chapel, Zimatlán.statue of the Trinity
Introduction to Xoxocotlán
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.
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