Friday, August 15, 2014

Missions of Michoacán: Magdalena Quinceo, the Church

We follow our posts on Tupátaro, the best known of the missions with painted ceilings, by visiting Quinceo, one of the least well known and documented churches, located on a less traveled road east of San Juan Capácuaro in the meseta tarasca of western Michoacán (see area map
   As with Tupátaro our description comes in two parts: first, of the church itself, and then a description of the spectacular painted ceiling.
image © Ing. Alexsander
Santa Maria Magdalena Quinceo
The rural purépecha* village of Quinceo has a substantial although at first glance unprepossessing stone church set beside its detached brick tower. 
   Although the adjoining guatápera complex has long since disappeared, the altered parish church remains in good condition, surrounded by picturesque, vernacular troje * wooden houses.  
The Quinceo doorway © Gloria Alvarez
Founded in the 16th century as a visita of neighboring Capácuaro, the church is entered through the original stone doorway, framed in a similar Franciscan/Michoacán style, with a colonnaded alfiz and an archway ringed by carved rosettes and intricate shell motifs. 
detail © Gloria Alvarez
As at Capacuaro, a fine stone relief of a bearded God the Father, with globe and arm raised in benediction, is carved on the keystone.
© Niccolo Brooker
© Niccolo Brooker
Another relief of El Padre Eterno in the same attitude is carved on the arch of the sotocoro, or under choir, facing the visitor as he enters the church. 
© Niccolo Brooker
The Main Altarpiece
Although the original late baroque retablo mayor has been partially disassembled, its upper section, framed by ornate, gilded baluster columns, is still in place behind the altar, capped by yet another painted relief of El Padre Eterno.
© Niccolo Brooker
Several fine old pasta de caña images stand along the nave, including that of Mary Magdalene, the patron saint, and a processional statue of La Purísima.
   *the preferred name of the language and the native people of the region.
Text © 2014 Richard D. Perry.    Photography ©Niccolò Brooker & Gloria Alvarez
based in part on Los Artesanos michoacanos... by Gloria Angélica Álvarez Rodríguez

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