Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-18-2020


Despite the contemporary popularity of the pilgrimage site of the Sanctuary of Santa Catarina of Juquila, the statuette of Oaxaca’s Virgin of Juquila is often eclipsed by the more well-known tilma image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The limited art historical scholarship has failed to address the statuette of the Virgin of Juquila as an icon that signifies both Indigenous and Catholic power dating back to the seventeenth century. Dominican missionaries used the statuette as a mediator for religious conversion practices in the local Chatino community. Furthermore, the moment the Virgin of Juquila gained significant Indigenous popularity in Oaxaca, the church seized the opportunity to reclaim the statuette as a source of social control by taking advantage of the object’s developed spiritual associations. The statuette of the Virgin of Juquila functioned as a tool for upholding institutional power in Oaxaca through evangelization, a process of Indigenous restoration to church authority, and later the strategic consecration of her pilgrimage site at the Sanctuary of Santa Catarina of Juquila. Using colonizing sight, symbolic articulation, and iconography this thesis will explore the negotiation of institutional power the Catholic Church realized within the statuette of the Virgin of Juquila’s familiar iconography. Similarly, the symbolic articulation of pilgrimage that developed in honor of the statuette in the seventeenth century to further reinforce the Virgin of Juquila’s localized relevance, power, and conversion among Chatino people.



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ray Hernández-Dúran

Second Committee Member

Kirsten Pai Buick

Third Committee Member

Margaret Jackson


Virgin Mary, Juquila, New Spain, Chatino, Marian devotion, Immaculate Conception