Monday, August 14, 2023

Guerrero. San Antonio Tehuilotepec

We follow up on our earlier posts* on churches in Guerrero, with a visit to San Antonio Tehuilotepec, “mountain of crystal.”
This unassuming country church, located in an old hillside mining town just east of the silver city of Taxco, is set in an elevated atrium braced by high stone walls. It is dedicated to Franciscan notable St. Anthony of Padua, whose rustic stone statue rests in the upper facade.

Behind the plain facade are found two colonial artifacts of note; first the handsome gilded main altarpiece, fashioned in “solomonic” baroque style with ornate spiral columns, Although a statue of the patron saint occupies the lower niche, it is surrounded by an original? and apparently complete? cycle of fine, large paintings of scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary, with the Annunciation in the main center panel.

A second altarpiece here, dedicated to St Joseph, is designed in a later manner, distinguished by elegant freestanding estípite columns. Again a central statue, this time of St Joseph, is framed by a sequence of quality paintings documenting scenes from the life of the saint and the young Jesus.

These opulent retablos are believed to have been commissioned by the 18th century mining mogul José de la Borda, who owned the local silver mines and also founded/funded the notable church of Santa Prisca in nearby Taxco.

* Ixcateopan; Pilcaya

text © 2023 Richard D Perry
photography by Niccolo Brooker and from online sources

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