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 Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán:

Christ carrying the Cross
Christ Child
Christ Child (with Crucifix 1)
Christ seated in the pretorium ("Pensive Christ")
Crucifix 1
Crucifix 2
Main altar
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Sorrows
Palm Sunday Christ
St. Dominic 1
St. Dominic 2
St. Michael
St. Michael (with Crucifix 1)
St. Peter
St. Raphael (with Crucifix 1)
St. Sebastian
Soledad (?)
Trinity 1
Trinity 2
Unidentified Dominican nun

Unidentified Franciscan
Unidentified saint 1
Unidentified saint 2 (Christopher?)
Unidentified saint 3
Virgin Mary 1
Virgin Mary 2

Other santos not photographed

Tour of the Museum
Tour of the Ayuxi Chapel
Christ Seated in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ")

Christ seated in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ"):
The long face has a Chinese cast to the eyes. It would seem that the hands and the left foot have been recast. They are proportional, but have none of the details and delicacy of construction that does the rest of the figure. The figure wears pantaloons of ribboned lace which may hide a polychrome loincloth. The left hand seems to be made to hold a staff, but it is empty.

The figure sits on a very simple wooden block. Cushions have been placed under the feet.

Local Name: El Dios de la Peña.

Basis for Identification: Seated in lace trousers and red velvet cape. Crown of thorns, streaming blood, head resting on right hand. Around the neck a tasseled cord, knotted at mid-torso.

Site: Church of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán.

Location: On a rough wooden step, on a pillar to the right of the entry into the chapel off the east end of the south nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments (velvet cape). Eyes: glass. Hair: wig. Closed mouth.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Ejutla, Etla, Guelavia, Tamazulapan, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teposcolula, Tilantongo, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
The episode of the scourging and mockery of Jesus in the pretorium is in Mark 15:16-20.
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of the Man of Sorrows.

Next: Inside the chapel, a statue of St. Michael the Archangel

Previous santo

Introduction to the church at Yanhuitlán

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.