Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Church of Santa Prisca - Taxco

Taxco is a beautiful town set on a hill in the Mexican State of Guerrero. 
Taxco, as seen from the highway leaving town, as the sun goes down. 

Taxco is known for its own unusual and elaborate Holy Week celebrations which date back to at least 1622. The practice of painful and bloody self-penitence was brought to Mexico from Spain and was easily adopted because it was similar to Aztec blood rituals. Penitentes, or practitioners of ritual penance, wear long black robes cinched at the waste with a horse-hair belt and a black fabric hood with eye-holes. We found bronze sculptures celebrating these penitentes. 

Animas penitentes have chains attached to their ankles and rattle as they walk. They carry a small cross or lighted candles. This group can include women. 
Encruzados walk in procession with a bundle of thorned blackberry canes tied  across their bare backs and outstretched arms. 
Flagelantes walk shirtless in a procession carrying a large wooden cross that can weigh more than 100 pounds. They carry a rosary and a whip with metal points in their hands. At certain times in the procession they kneel, have attendees take the cross, then whip themselves on the back with the whip. 
Just off the main plaza is a Baroque church built by the silver tycoon Jose de la Borda, built for his son, the priest Manuel de la Borda, so he would have a place to give mass. 
Church of Santa Prisca
Jose de la Borda statue in the plaza near the church. 

This skeleton is in the cobblestones of the alley next to the church. 
This skeleton on the side of the church is near the skeleton in the cobblestones. 
The church was built between 1751 and 1758 and nearly bankrupted its benefactor. It is built in a small ravine and is very narrow due to the lack of level space to build it on. It is built of pink stone and has two towers, plain at the bottom and highly decorated at the top. 

Figures in portals near the front entrance. 
Inside are nine floor to ceiling altarpieces all covered in gold. Scattered among the gold altarpieces are funky little angels and saints, painted in contrast to the gold. 
From the front, looking toward the back altarpiece.
Looking back toward the entrance. 
Organ pipes above the entrance.
One of the altarpieces.
Another altarpiece.
A painted angel.
More painted angels or cherubs. 
A saint.
Jesus and the thieves over a bank of angels or cherubs. 
A painting.
A beautiful wood door.
Inside the cupola.
We've seen a fair number of Baroque churches and although this one is beautiful, it lacks something for me personally. All the gaudy gold leaf, meant to impress in a town accustomed to lots of silver, impresses less than intended. 

1 comment:

  1. I liked those "penitentes" sculptures. I don't think we've seen anything like that anywhere else. Overall, Taxco is an amazingly culture-laden city. I wish we had been able to spend more time there.I agree about the church--too much.