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
Saint Sebastian Group

Saint Sebastian Grouping

Site: Church of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán.

Location: In a niche in the northeast corner of the nave (see note).


Above left: Saint Sebastian 1

The right hand is raised as if in salutation. Were it not for the tree, one might take this for a John the Baptist. There are no actual arrows, though one can see a hole, as if from an arrow, in the left calf. The skin has a very natural sheen.

Local Name: San Sebastián.

Basis for Identification: Tree, clean-shaven wearing only a red loincloth and golden sash.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric loincloth and sash. Hair: carved.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Ocotlán, Teotitlán, Tilantongo, Xoxocotlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Saint Sebastian in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Sebastian
Wikipedia: Saint Sebastian
Christian Iconography: Saint Sebastian, Martyr


Above right: Saint Sebastian 2

The skin has a natural sheen.

Local Name: San Sebastián.

Basis for Identification: Tree, arrows in body, goatee and mustache, red loincloth and sash.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric loincloth and sash. Hair: carved.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable statues in Oaxaca, External Links: see above.

Lower left: Resurrected Christ

The hair reaches to the back of the knees. The skin has a rubbery look. There are no wounds.

Basis for Identification:
Naked but for the white loincloth, holding a vexillum with a white banner.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garment and banner. Hair: wig.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)


Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Santa Ana del Valle, Cuilapan, Mitla, Teitipac, Teotitlán, Teposcolula, Zaachila.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Resurrection of Christ in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Wikipedia: Resurrection of Jesus
Christian Iconography: The Resurrection

Lower right: Sacred Heart of Jesus

The feet are showing. The skin has a high sheen.

Basis for Identification:
Heart on chest, white robe and red cape.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments.

Size: About 5 feet (150 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Cuilapan, Huitzo, Tamazulapan, Teposcolula, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Wikipedia: Sacred Heart


Next: The main altar of the church

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.