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

Angels
Christ: Ecce Homo
Crucifix 1
Crucifix 2
Crucifix 3
Crucifix 4
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of  Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary 1 and 2
St. Mary Magdalene: see Our Lady of Sorrows
St. Helena
St. John: see Our Lady of Sorrows
St. Sebastian: see Our Lady of the Rosary
St. Therese of Lisieux
Trinity
Unidentified saint

Other santos not photographed

Crucifix

Crucifix:
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 end-caps.

Local Name: El Señor de la Misericordia.

Basis for Identification: Wounds and blood, crown of thorns, loincloth.

Other characteristics: No INRI plaque.

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, Tlacolula2Xoxocotlán1Xoxocotlán3, Xoxocotlán4, Yanhuitlán1, Yanhuitlán2, Yanhuitlán Convento1, Yanhuitlán Convento2, Yanhuitlán Convento3, Yanhuitlán Convento4, Yanhuitlán Convento5, Yanhuitlán Ayuxi Chapel, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Crucifixes in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: Archaeology of the Cross and Crucifix
Wikipedia: Crucifix
Christian Iconography: The Crucifixion

Next: In the second chapel, a statue of the Trinity

Previous santo

Introduction to Xoxocotlán

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.