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 Teotitlán del
St. Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
This statue is different from others of St. Francis. It has a pained, intense look. The eyes are very large, the neck muscular, and the hands broad and strong. The left hand is set palm-outward, as if to hold a child, and the right hand is thrust forward with the thumb and index finger touching.
Though the head is well carved, the skin has a rubbery look and the eyes seem overly dramatic. The feet are large and clumsily carved. The big toe, the second toe, and the middle toe of the right foot are missing, and what appear to be nails have been driven into the tips of the other toes. There are two cinctures. Someone has safety-pinned a small cross with patch of blue material to the habit near the second knot on one of the cinctures. A picture in front of the statue shows the figure holding the halo in the left hand, but at the time of our visit the halo was on the head.
Local Name: San Francisco de
Basis for Identification: Brown habit, knotted cinctures, halo.
Site: Church of Santa María
de la Natividad (Preciosa Sangre de Cristo),
Teotitlán del Valle.
Location: Small altar right of the first large altar along the south wall of the nave (see note).
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garment. Eyes: glass. Hair: carved. Closed mouth.
Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)
Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Ejutla.
Moving to the right, we find another altar with a statue of St. Peter
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
of the nave on the
north and south. (The
nave is the long central section.)
Actual orientations may differ.
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