Monday, October 1, 2018

Hidden Gems: The Pazulco Altarpiece

From time to time we take a look at modest rural Mexican churches with colonial antecedents that are overlooked by most students of viceregal art and architecture, but that often possess features of special artistic interest.  
Asunción Pazulco
At last report still in a dire condition of neglect, the exceptional 17th century altarpiece in the church of Asunción Pazulco*—a former visita of nearby Yecapixtla—retains most of its original fabric, above all, its wooden statues which, despite their urgent need of conservation, are among the highest quality colonial sculptural works in the state of Morelos.
The altarpiece is framed in classic “solomonic” style with gilded spiral columns, chains of relief rosettes, and hanging spindles in the Oaxacan baroque style. 
   Ornate sculpture niches encased in filigree relief hold the original statues which are of surpassing quality.

Flanking the image of the Virgin of the Assumption on the lower level, the figures of St. Augustine and St. Francis still glow in their faded but still sumptuous estofado robes.


St. Joseph bearing the Christ Child occupies the center niche on the upper level, accompanied by St. Andrew and the near naked figure of the martyr St. Sebastian.
St. Joseph
St Andrew;                                                 St Sebastian
The Crucifixion tableau in the gable includes reliefs of Mary and St. John the Divine. Naked cherubs dance atop the flanking columns. 
To either side, remnant painted reliefs depict Faith and Hope, while a bearded God the Father looks down from the apex.
It is much to be hoped that the long delayed restoration of this valuable altarpiece will be undertaken before its further, perhaps irreversible deterioration.
Facade earthquake damage 2017
*After the 9/19 earthquake of 2017, some structural damage to the church was sustained, notably the loss of a belfry, and interior problems including pieces fallen from the altar reported. Updates to follow.

Check out our other Hidden Gems: Xichu de IndiosSan Felipe Sultepec; San Pablo Malacatepec;  OcoxochitepecMixquiahualaCherán;
text © 2018 Richard D. Perry.  
color images by Niccolò Brooker and Irving Valerio


  1. I have rarely commented but I must say, your blog is such a treasure. I so appreciate the detail in these posts. I was looking through again as I contemplate a trip to Puebla.. many kind regards and saludos, C.M. Mayo

  2. Thank you Catherine. Your kind words are always appreciated.