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 Lorenzo
carrying the Cross
|Our Lady of Mount Carmel
| Our Lady of Mount
One of the most elegant and lyrical of the santos in Oaxaca. Extremely good condition: only one chip (toward the bottom of the pedastal) where the gesso is showing. The Child figure is carved as part of whole statue; it is naked but for a polychrome pale green "cloth," with arms outstretched to hold the scapular and eyes fixed on the mother. The Virgin's habit has a floral design, blue petals with gold centers and brown and gold stripes in the background, edged with a red and gold floral design. On the right side, toward the bottom, the paint has worn away, leaving bare gold patches. The mantle is pale green/blue bordered with a polychrome gold and blue floral design. The Virgin stands on a "rug" whose design seems more 18th-century than 16th; this and the good condition of the statue would suggest that this is not one of the original 16th-century santos.
Local Name: La Virgen del Carmen.
Basis for Identification: Scapular,
brown robe adaptation of the brown Carmelite habit,
holding child, halo embellished with stars (11 visible).
Site: Church of San Lorenzo Zimatlán.
Media and construction: Polychrome.
The garments are so well preserved that it is impossible
to say whether they are part of the carving or are
real cloth that has been stiffened. Eyes (both figures):
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