As a late addition to our previous posts on Chiapas, in which we featured the church at Oxchuc, notable for its surviving posa chapels, we recently obtained pictures of the nearby church of San Miguel Tumbalá, which also retains several posas.
Located in northeastern Chiapas near Palenque, this Dominican mission was originally founded in the mid 1500s as visita of Ocosingo, to serve a relocated community of Chol speaking Maya.
The present church is distinctive in appearance, unlike any other in Chiapas to our knowledge, most likely a result of rebuilding in the 1700s.
Set in the massively buttressed facade, sculpture niches flank the arched doorway as well as the unusual oval choir window which is framed by a carved archway.
oval choir window
Paired belfries bracket the be-scrolled gable.
Inside, the long single nave is mostly unadorned, spanned by a handsome beamed ceiling.
Other unusual features at Tumbala include what appear to be posa chapels, two beside the church front and another angled in the far corner of the walled atrium—rare survivals in Chiapas.
text © 2021 Richard D. Perry
images courtesy of Niccolo Brooker and Sergio Diaz Sosa.