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
| The Blessed Virgin
| The Blessed Virgin
The size is unusually small for dressed statues. What appear to be statues of St. Anne and St. Joachim, both also approximately 3½ feet (105 cm.) tall, stand on shelves to the left and right of the statue.
Local Name: La Virgen de la
Basis for Identification: The
central figure was identified by Sr. Luís Mendoza
as La Virgen de la Natividad. (The natividad of the
name refers to the birth of Mary.) Full crown, hands out
and up as if in greeting, gold fabric mantle. The paired
statues on the left and right could be taken to be
Joseph and Mary, but the male has a long beard, unlike
any statue of St. Joseph that we studied. The female
figure looks young, but otherwise her nun-like garments
would lead us to identify her as Mary's mother, St.
Anne, and the male figure as St. Joachim.
Site: Church of Santa María
de la Natividad (Preciosa Sangre de Cristo),
Teotitlán del Valle.
Location: In a glass case in the center of the main altar.
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint (face and hands), fabric garments, tin or silver crown. Eyes: glass. Hair: wig.
Size: About 3½
feet (105 cm.)
Comparable santos in Oaxaca: We
found no other statues identified with the birth of
Mary. For other statues of the Virgin (without the
Christ Child), see Achiutla,
Etla1 (in the
Soledad group) Etla2, Guelavia1,
Ocotlán, Teotitlán2, Tilantongo1,
Yanhuitlán1, Yanhuitlán2, Zimatlán.
St. Anne (?)
St. Joachim (?)
Comparable santos in Oaxaca: We did
not see any.
Looking to the right of this altar, we find a statue of Our Lady of the
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.