Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Yucatan. San Francisco Cahsahcab

This is the second in our new series on eastern Yucatan missions.
As at Temax, a late 16th century mission anchors the charming 17th century church of San Francisco Cansahcab; its former open chapel, ringed with merlons, forming the raised sanctuary with an adjacent belfry.

A modest visita in Father Ponce’s time (late 1500s), San Francisco Cansahcab bloomed in the late 1600s, acquiring a convento and the vaulted stone church.
The substantial convento with its arcaded cloister adjoins the church to the northeast, fronted by an equally imposing arcaded portería. 
The pedimented facade is flanked by handsome twin belfries also set with merlons; the nave walls are also capped with castellated parapets.
Inside the simple arched entry, a pair of early stone fonts carved with the Franciscan knotted cord stands sentry: one by the doorway to the caracol stairway beside the north tower and the other in front of the baptistry, which contains another, larger monolithic baptismal basin. 
Our favorite work of art at Cansahcab, now kept in the sacristy, is the graceful, richly ornamented wooden figure of a fresh-faced Archangel Raphael holding his traditional fish.
text © 1988 & 2021 Richard D. Perry
images by the author and courtesy of Niccolo Brooker

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