Sunday, October 29, 2017

Earthquake damage in Morelos update: Hueyapan

This is the last in our current series reporting on recent earthquake damage to colonial churches in Morelos.  We will update our earlier posts as significant new information emerges.
Santo Domingo Hueyapan in happier times
The old Dominican mission of Santo Domingo Hueyapan stands high on the slopes of Popocatépetl, above Tetela del Volcán.
   Like Tetela, the plain but sturdy church front is notable for its handsome single tower, and is faced by an atrium cross cut from the abundant black basalt of the area. And the nave is lined by colorful baroque altars and a fine, gilded retablo mayor.
The tower, atrium cross and golden main altarpiece
Hueyapan, the nave before the 'quake   ©ELTB
The dome and lantern before the earthquake (
Wilhelm Karl Schepers Schaefer)
Following the 9/19 earthquake, however, the church sustained serious damage, leaving the tower cracked and battered, and collapsing two of the domed vaults—over the octagonal crossing and the apse.

Although the interior has been severely impacted, the main altarpiece seems to have escaped major harm.

text © 2017 Richard D. Perry
color images by Robert Jackson, ELTB and internet sources

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Earthquake damage in Morelos update: Tetela del Volcán

The little mountain community of Tetela del Volcán clings to the steep western slopes of Popocatépetl. The unpretentious Dominican mission of San Juan Bautista sits on a rise above the village plaza, commanding a panoramic vista of the volcano above and the Amilpas Valley below.
© 1987 by Richard D. Perry
Like other modest churches in the region the square facade is mostly plain, capped here by a handsome, single tower bristling with massed pilasters.*
© 1987 by Richard D. Perry
The main attraction of the convento is the extraordinary sequence of 16th century murals that adorn the walks and arcades of its delightful, dressed stone cloister.
© Robert Jackson
* Unfortunately, like so many other churches in Morelos, during the recent earthquake Tetela sustained damage to its fabric, primarily to its ornate tower, whose upper tier collapsed into the atrium below. 
No word yet on the fate of the cloister murals at Tetela!

Tetela, the cemetery chapel;                                        San Marcos Xochicalco
Other churches and chapels in the immediate area also suffered severe effects, including the venerable cemetery chapel as well as neighboring hillside churches at Tlalmimilulpan, Xochicalco and Alpanocan.
San Pedro Tlalmimilulpan;                                   San Antonio Alpanocan
text © 2017 by Richard D. Perry
1987 color images by the author.  post quake pictures by Robert Jackson and online sources

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Mexico: earthquake damage in Morelos — Ahuatlan

As we have reported in recent posts, damage following the 9/19 Mexico earthquake has been visited on communities, buildings and churches large and small, especially in Morelos.
But few have suffered the total devastation as has the little church of Asunción Ahuatlan, near Totolapan (also heavily affected)
Asunción Ahuatlan was chiefly notable for its adjacent but separate open chapel, already partly in ruins but retaining some of its colorful mural decoration.
open chapel & mural fragments before 'quake
But after the 9/19 'quake, both the church and chapel sustained what may be irreparable damage.
Ahuatlan today, after the earthquake (©Robert Jackson)
2019 Update: Repair of both church and chapel is under way, with a new church roof currently under construction:
photographs courtesy of Robert Jackson

text © Richard D. Perry. 
images courtesy of Robert Jackson and Niccolò Brooker

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tlayacapan: the barrio chapels 3

In this third and final post on the chapels of Tlayacapan we picture several ermitas on the outskirts of the town that mark traditional exit points from the village, such as San NicolásSan Lorenzo, La Natividad and El Tránsito, as well as some other minor capillas. 
San Nicolás is a typical boundary ermita, now restored and in use, notable for its span of brick vaulting. The chapel also sustained damage in the September 19 quake, with the partial loss of it belfry. No word yet on effects on the interior.
San Nicolás after the quake
El Tránsito. Except for a toppled merlon beside its surmounting espadaña, this recently restored and re-painted chapel front seems to have suffered little 'quake damage.
San Lorenzo
Likewise, the chapel of San Lorenzo escaped with the cracking of its belfry and the loss of a single merlon.
La Natividad
Like several others, the attractive chapel of La Natividad suffered a fallen tower and sections of its gable.
La Natividad after the 'quake
A number of smaller chapels also mark ancient topographic or sacred sites as well as places of private and public devotion in outlying barrios of Tlayacapan. 
   These include those of San Miguel, San Jerónimo, La Magdalena and the Guadalupe Chapel, all of which appear to have suffered minimal damage according to these post quake pictures, except for the rustic ermita of La Magdalena whose belfry broke.
San Miguel
San Jerónimo
La Magdalena
Plus three smaller chapels on the west side of Tlayacapan:
La Asunción
La Concepción, with damaged belfry
San Diego
We will update this post if and when more data and pictures are forthcoming. Many thanks to Robert Jackson who has undertaken to visit, photograph and report on earthquake damage in Tlayacapan and the stricken state of Morelos.

Text © Richard D. Perry.  new color images © 2017 courtesy of Robert Jackson

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tlayacapan: the barrio chapels 2

In our first post on these chapels we looked at the "big four"—those marking the sites of the prehispanic temples of Tlayacapan.
   In this second post we describe other leading barrio chapels, including Santa Cruz de AlticaTlaxcalchica, and the ornate chapel of San Martín, together with notes on any recent earthquake damage.
Santa Cruz de Altica, the chapel front and the Holy Cross
Santa Cruz de Altica
Behind its plain front, this chapel hosts a variety of colonial paintings, mostly in poor condition. These include a crowded Last Supper and a fine but faded Animas with God the Father cradling the dead Christ. There is also an eponymous painted cross, similar to that at Santa Ana.

Altica after the 'quake
Sadly, Altica lost its single tower in the recent earthquake.
Tlaxcalchica after the quake
This tiny folk chapel presents a "retablo" style facade, whose plain paired pilasters and curved openings are boldly accented in red paint. The chapel front suffered minimal damage, with the loss of a belfry merlon.
San Martín
Located beside the Rosario chapel, San Martín is the grandest of the Tlayacapan chapels, with twin towers, a central espadaña bristling with merlons, and a complex front 
with multiple niches of varying size and shape and a variety of columns. 
All these architectural elements are interposed with passages of ornamental, carved stucco relief, formerly painted. Most of the decoration is in the form of foliated motifs, although some animals appear together with stylized, crowned, Imperial two-headed eagles above the niches.*
Unfortunately the towers especially suffered considerable damage during the quake, including large cracks and fallen arches, and remain in a precarious state.
*According to legend, when the plan for the Tlayacapan chapels was shown to the Emperor Charles V, he demanded that a special, chapel be erected on the western side, the grandest of all, dedicated to Martin of Tours and on which the Hapsburg Imperial insignia be prominently displayed. 
text © 2017 Richard D. Perry
color images courtesy of Robert Jackson and Niccolò Brooker