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 San Pablo Mitla:
| St. Joseph:
The face has a nice sheen, though it is less elegant in execution than the Virgin Mary's on the other side of the altar, and the eyes are less sculpted.
Local Name: San José
Basis for Identification: The identification of the statue as San José is suggested by its obvious pairing with the Virgin on the other side of the altar. Both are 3' polychromes, similar in general design. The fingers of the right hand form the gesture that means "OK" in the United States, the thumb forming a circle with the index finger. This circle could have supported a lily stalk, the most common attribute of the saint. Also, the left hand is extended palm-up, suggesting a Christ child may once have rested on it.
Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.
Location: Left third of the retablo of the main altar.
Media and construction: Polychrome. Eyes: painted. Hair: carved.
Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)
the center of the main altar, a statue of St. Paul
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