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 Santa María de la Natividad Zaachila:

Christ in a coffin
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Nativity of Mary
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Resurrected Christ
St. Nicholas Factor 1
St. Nicholas Factor 2

St. Nicholas Factor

Saint Nicholas Factor:
Close by is an inscription, Renovado por Morroquin ("Restored by Morroquin").

Local Name: San Nicolás.

Basis for Identification: Franciscan habit, tonsure, a skull between the feet, halo. Identification as San Nicolás was confirmed by a parishioner who spoke with us.

Other characteristics: The habit has a collar and placket outlined in gold. A bird stands on a paten or plate in the left hand.

Site: Church of Santa María de la Natividad Zaachila.

Location: In the second bay in the south wall of the nave, on a pedestal above a crude metal altar (see note).

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

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Díaz Ordaz (no photograph), Guelavia, Teitipac, Yanhuitlán (in Dominic group), Zaachila2.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Saint Nicholas Factor in Mexico
SQPN: Saint Nicholas Factor
TheRealPresence.Org: Blessed Nicholas Factor
Wikipedia: Nicolás Factor
Christian Iconography:
Saint Nicholas Factor

Next: Moving back to the first bay in the south wall, we find another statue of St. Nicholas Factor.

Previous santo

Introduction to Santa María Zaachila

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.)  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.