Saturday, September 30, 2017

Mexico: earthquake damage in Morelos — update

As we saw in our previous post on the 9/19 earthquake, colonial monuments in Morelos were the hardest hit of any state in Mexico.
Here we bring you updated pictures and information.

San Agustin Jonacatepec;             Sto Tomas de Tetelilla, Jonacatepec
Churches in the eastern highlands of the state were the hardest hit. Damage is reported at Jonacatepec, Hueyapan, Jumiltepec and Tetela del Volcán.
Tetela del Volcán (courtesy of Robert Jackson)
Santo Domingo Hueyapan
Jumiltepec (courtesy Robert Jackson) 
Totolapan before the quake (courtesy of Robert Jackson)
Here are images of San Guillermo Totolapan, among the most heavily damaged churches in this area, missing its tower and espadaña.
Totolapan today. (courtesy of Robert Jackson)
Santo Domingo Oaxtepec
Tepoztlan, damaged towers and mirador (Robert Jackson)
The bell towers at Natividad Tepoztlan also sustained numerous cracks, while the picturesque mirador at the rear of the convento partly collapsed.
Lastly we post this most recent picture of the devastating damage at El Santuario de Tepalcingo.
text @2017 Richard D. Perry. pictures from internet sources and courtesy of Robert Jackson 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Mexico: earthquake damage in Morelos

We interrupt our scheduled posts to bring you information on earthquake damage to colonial monuments in Mexico, as it becomes available, with pictures if possible.  Please check again in for further updates.
   The state of Morelos, south of Mexico City and adjacent to Puebla has suffered the brunt of the September 19 quake. From the major city of Cuernavaca to the 16th century monasteries and village churches, the quake has taken a heavy toll.  Here are some preliminary reports and pictures.
In Cuernavaca itself, the Cortes palace towers and the Sagrario chapel adjacent to the cathedral both suffered moderate damage.
Eeffects were seen all along the Ruta de Conventos in the northern foothills, including major damage at the 16th century Augustinian priories of Tlayacapan and Totolapan.
Tlayacapan facade (©Robert Jackson)
Tlayacapan nave damage
Jantetelco tower (©Robert Jackson)
Bell towers and vaults were cracked and fractured at other conventos in the area including Jantetelco and Yautepec.
Jantetelco nave exterior (©Robert Jackson)
Jantetelco convento (©Robert Jackson)
Asuncion Yautepec
The folk baroque temple at Tepalcingo did not escape the tremors, sustaining damage to its iconic facade.
Church fronts were also affected in the southern part of the state, close to the epicenter and neighboring Puebla.
text © 2017 Richard D. Perry
images from the internet and other sources

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mexico: earthquake damage in Puebla

We interrupt our scheduled posts to bring you information on earthquake damage to colonial monuments in Mexico, as it becomes available, with pictures if possible.  Please check again in for further updates.

INAH estimates that more than 280 churches in the region have sustained damage, including 16 monasteries in the environs of the volcano Popocatepetl, which has shown renewed activity.
San Francisco in Puebla, the damaged cupola and broken vault

The celebrated tiled Casa del Alfeñique, which houses the regional museum in downtown Puebla was also hit, and its contents hastily removed because of structural damage.
Los Remedios
Los Remedios, on top of the pyramid in Cholula was hit badly again, as in 1999.  San Gabriel Cholula was also damaged, again by falling tower fragments, as was San Pedro.
Los Remedios fallen cupola
San Gabriel Cholula,                                                              San Pedro Cholula
In other Cholula area churches, the dome over the crossing collapsed at San Cristóbal Tepontla
Jojutla, near the epicenter, was especially badly hit. All of its churches reportedly sustained damage.
the fallen tower at Jojutla
Atlixco, the parish church
Damage has also been reported to the parish churches in Atlixco, Santo Domingo Izucar, Santa Ana Coatepec, Xochiteopan
 and Tepeojuma;
Izucar de Matamoros
Santiago Xochiteopan
Chautla de Tapia
(further details and pictures to follow as available) 
text © 2017 Richard D. Perry.  images from internet sources

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Huaquechula: the crosses and earthquake update

San Martín Huaquechula is an early Franciscan monastery in Puebla and one of the treasuries of 16th century Mexican art and architecture.* In earlier posts we looked at the extraordinary north doorway of the church, the main altarpiece, and the murals in the upper cloister.  
   Huaquechula also houses within its precincts a variety of unusual carved stone crosses, mostly in the form of reliefs but also as freestanding sculptures.

The Atrium Cross
Perhaps the most unusual one is the former atrium cross, now located in the plaza opposite the church in the company of several pre hispanic sculptures, including an Aztec calendar stone. 

Set on an old stone globe carved with Sun and Moon reliefs, the replica? cross takes the unusual form of an abbreviated crucifix, with the head, hands and feet of Christ. Other examples of this configuration can be seen at Santa Cruz Tlaxcala, Angahuan, and La Nativitas in Salamanca.
  The cowled Face at the crossing is flanked by large Hands on either arm, extended in a sign of blessing, while the crossed Feet are carved on the lower shaft. Neither Hands nor Feet are pierced and no Wounds are in evidence, although sprays of three Nails appear above the Face and at the foot of the cross.

The Cloister Cross
This relief cross features a large, woven style Crown of Thorns at the axis and a Skull and Bones at the foot, although the rocks of Calvary beneath look more like the flames of Purgatory. One unusual addition is a pair of flanking, angled crosses adorned with winding ropes.
The Lavabo Cross
This elaborately spiky tree cross relief is set above the principal water basin in the convento.

The North Wall Cross
While this relief is more conventional at first glance: its octagonal arms and shaft are free of carved detail save for three angled spearheads and a scrolled cap with the rockpile of Calvary below, an
 unusual element is the six, round chalchihuitl style motifs beside it—probably a prehispanic survival, which may account for its obscure position on the north wall of the church. 
Huaquechula, date stone
It may also be related to the early date stone of the convento, which includes Aztec numerals in the form of round reliefs or dots.
The Tree Cross
And in a niche on the south side of the nearby parish church, stands another tree cross with a Crown, angled stubs and an undulating INRI scroll.  
We can't leave Huaquechula without mention of the slender wooden "tree" cross inside the church, painted blue and wreathed with spiraling, gilded grapevines.
text and graphics © 2017  Richard D. Perry
color images by the author and Niccolò Brooker

* Earthquake update:
Unfortunately, the recent earthquake in Puebla caused significant damage in colonial churches across the region, including at San Martín Huaquechula, where parts of the facade, tower and interior vaulting fell.