Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I've been posting images of the Yucatecan churches that I made in 1994. I don't remember how many trips we made to the Yucatan while I was working on this project. We would get a hotel in Merida and a car and everyday we'd go out looking for the 16th century churches. Our guidebook was Richard Perry's book, Maya Missions, Exploring the Spanish Colonial Churches of Yucatan. It is a great book and if you are going to exploring the Yucatan I suggest that you get this book.

This is one of the altars in Mani. Perry writes,

"The collection of fine, early retablos at Mani is unrivaled in Yucatan. Particularly famous is an exceptional pair of late Renaissance side retablos, crafted in the mid 1600s by an unknown provincial artist, dubbed the "Master of Mani." These guilded altarpieces, while simple in form, are fused with a vigor and freshness of the carving that is the equal of any other Mexican work of the period."

Today my friend Deb told me that Perry had just posted a new newsletter about the altars in the church in Mani. They have been restored.

In a way this makes me feel sad but this is very wrong for me to feel this way. They are treasures and they must be preserved. But I guess my fear is that when I go back to Mani, the church will look pristine like a designer house. That it will have lost its homey feeling. The feeling that people come in and bring flowers and move things around and put down home embroidered pieces on the altars and light candles. Like in the image above, who placed the picture of St. Theresa (I think that it is an image of her) at this altar and strung plastic flowers and left an empty vase and lit the candle? And why did they do it? Will they leave the doors open as they did in the past so that anyone can go in and out during the day?

At any rate, Perry's pictures of the restored altars are colorful and beautiful. Maybe when I go back it will be time to switch the camera to color.

1 comment:

FZipperer said...

This is an incredibly beautiful image.
Frank Z