Saint Nicholas Factor

Polychrome (?); glass eyes, lashes; 2 feet tall (61 cm.).
Church of San Juan Guelavia, Oaxaca, Mexico

The figure has a Franciscan habit with cord, skull, halo, tonsure. A skull rests on the open left palm. San Juan Teitipac and Santa Maria Zaachila, also in Oaxaca, have statues of this saint that were identified as "San Nicolás" by our informants there.

Much dust has covered the statue, but one can still admire the life-like sheen to the skin. The detailing of the hands is rather perfunctory, as is the skull. The right hand is broken and hanging from the wrist by little more than a thread. Red wax has been drizzled onto the fracture at the wrist, as if to represent blood. The garments and cord are part of the carving.

The statue has been repainted, but high on the breast of the habit some of the most recent paint has chipped away, revealing a glint of gold beneath that seems to be polychrome. There is a similar chip at the left shoulder.

More of St. Nicholas Factor

Photographed at the church by Claire and Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.