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
|Christ in the Pretorium
| Christ in the Pretorium (Pensive Christ):
The crown is woven of hair and silver into the basketweave pattern. The feet are burnished by the repeated rubbing of the faithful. Sr. Jescas says it is solid wood. The figure wears white cotton bloomers, a red velvet loincloth, and a red velvet cape. On the bloomers and the lower part of the loincloth the faithful have pinned scores of votive photographs, amulets, and other objects. The artist has expressed depression and loneliness more than physical agony. The treatment of the blood is perfunctory and what most strikes the viewer is the spiritual exhaustion in the gaze. The resulting emotional power of the figure may explain its popularity among those seeking healing.
Local Name: El Dios de la Peña.
Basis for Identification: Seated with the head on the right palm, right elbow on the knee, mock scepter, crown of thorns, red loincloth and cape.
Other characteristics: White bloomers.
Site: Church of the Assumption, Tlacolula.
Location: West end of the transept of the Chapel (see note).
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments. Eyes: glass eyes. Hair: wig.
Size: 3 feet 9 inches feet (115 cm.)
Introduction to Tlacolula
Note: On this site, 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 walls of the nave on the north and south. (The nave is the long central section.) In the case of the Chapel of the Lord of Tlacolula, which is at right angles to the south wall of the church, the altar is thus at the south end and the transept (the two wings that give the building the shape of a cross) comprises an east and west section. Actual orientations may differ.
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