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
Trinity (Throne of Mercy)
| Trinity (Throne of Mercy):
The figures are dissimilar in style. The dove is crudely carved, the wings too small for the body. The Christ is stiffly posed, the body arced in a bow. It is less detailed than might be expected in older work, but the skin has an excellent natural color and sheen and the loincloth is carved of one piece with the body.
The Father is of polychrome and though stiff in execution seems to be the work of a skilled artist. It is tied to the throne by a white cloth at the waist and may therefore have once sat on another throne. The figure wears a cape of black and gold stripe and a white robe with a heavy gold design similar to paisley. The hem is finished in a wide band of black and gold.
Basis for Identification: Crucifix on a mappa mundi orb surmounted by a dove and held up by the Father, seated and in a triple crown.
Site: Church of Santa María
de la Natividad (Preciosa Sangre de Cristo),
Teotitlán del Valle.
Location: In a glass case on the altar at the east end of the north wall of the nave (see note).
Media and construction: Polychrome (Father), wood/gesso/paint (Son), painted wood (dove). Eyes: glass (Father only). Hair: carved.
Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)
of the Virgin Mary
on the main altar
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.