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:
A sign beside the crucifix tells its story. The crucifix was found in the Rio Atayaca, on a 6th of August in the 16th century and subsequently brought rain. The execution of anatomical details is realistic but does not emphasize the skeletal structure. The round chest and well-developed muscles portray a strong, healthy male. The head is held straight rather than falling to either side. The crown of thorns is in the basketweave pattern but is white. The wig falls to mid-calf. The tip of the carved loincloth projects from beneath the fabric; it is gilded. The skin is dark golden brown; the blood from the wounds has darkened almost to black.

Local Name: El Señor de la Transfiguración del Rio lo Seca.

Basis for Identification: Loincloth and scutum, stylized crown of thorns, flowing blood, skinned knees.

Site: Church of Santa Elena de la Cruz, Xoxocotlán.

Location: On the west wall of the narthex, to the right of the main entrance (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric loincloth and scutum over carved loincloth. Hair: wig.

Size: About 6 feet (180 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, Tlacolula2Xoxocotlán1, Xoxocotlán2, Xoxocotlán3Yanhuitlán1, 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: On the left as you enter the narthex are two small chapels. In the first of them we find another crucifix.

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.