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 Museum in the former convento at Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán:

Crucifix 1
Crucifix 2

Crucifix 3
Crucifix 4
Crucifix 5

St. Dominic
St. Dismas
St. Michael

Other santos not photographed

Tour of the Church
Tour of the Ayuxi Chapel

Crucifix 5

Crucifix 5:
The neck that rises from the torso breaks cleanly at the missing head, suggesting that the head was not made as part of the torso. The loincloth is part of the sculpture. There is less blood than usual. The skin has little sheen. There is a navel. Despite the unfortunate condition of the figure, the crosspieces are marvelous: flat boards to which have been applied carved and gilded spiral edging and a rich pattern of carved and gilded leaf designs. The legs are fixed separately to the vertical piece, the right nail placed higher so that the knee is bent.

Local Name: El Señor de la Misericordia.

Basis for Identification: White loincloth, skinned knees, flowing blood. What excludes the possibility that this is some other crucified person (e.g. one of the two thieves) is the sumptuousness of the decoration of the cross, the somewhat elegant pose, and the skinned knees.

Other characteristics: Missing head and right arm. No INRI plaque or scutum, no wound in side.

Site: Museum of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán.

Location: East wall of the convento museum (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint.

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, Xoxocotlán3, Xoxocotlán4, Yanhuitlán1, Yanhuitlán2, Yanhuitlán Convento1, Yanhuitlán Convento2, Yanhuitlán Convento3, Yanhuitlán Convento4, 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 a niche on the south wall, a statue of St. Dominic with two others

Previous santo

Introduction to the Museum at Yanhuitlán

Santos Home Page

Note: On this site, references to the cardinal directions in a church 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 Yanhuitlán, this schema extends the four directions to the Museum. That is, "east"   means parallel to the east side of the church, "south" to the south side, etc. 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.