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

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of Mary:
The heart is on a gold sunburst and is held to the chest by two golden ropes. The fall of light from the hands is represented by collapsed gold fans which hang from the back of the wrists. The skin has an artificial look.

Local Name: La Virgen del Sagrado Corazón

Basis for Identification: Large red heart at breast, streams of light coming from hands, white robe and mantilla, blue cape, sun-burst diadem

Other characteristics: Ear-rings.

Site: Church of Santa María de la Natividad Zaachila.

Location: East end of the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: glass. Hair: wig.

Size: About feet (135 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Cuilapan, Huitzo, Mitla Teitipac, TeposcolulaZimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Immaculate Heart of Mary, Statues of the Immaculate Conception in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Wikipedia: Immaculate Heart of Mary

Next: Walking back along the south wall we find a 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.