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Title: The Penitente Moradas of Abiquiú
Author: Ahlborn, Richard E.
Language: English
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With the exception of Figure 26, which forms the frontispiece of this
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_Richard E. Ahlborn_


Penitente Organization

Origins of the Penitente Movement

The History of Abiquiú

The Architecture of the Moradas

Interior Space and Artifacts




 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents,
 U.S. Government Printing Office
 Washington, D.C. 20402--Price 75 cents

[Illustration: FIGURE 26. CROSS (_cruz_). SIZE: 106.7 centimeters
high, 73.6 wide. DATE: First quarter of 20th century. ORIGIN: Abiquiú;
Onésimo Martínez. LOCATION: South _morada_, center room. MANUFACTURE:
Indigo blue designs (stencilled?).]

_Richard E. Ahlborn_


_By the early 19th century, Spanish-speaking residents of villages in
northern New Mexico and southern Colorado felt the need for a
brotherhood that would preserve their traditional social and religious
beliefs. Known as "brothers of light," or _penitentes_, these
Spanish-Americans centered their activities in a houselike building,
or _morada_, especially equipped for Holy Week ceremonies._

_For the first time, two intact _moradas_ have been fully photographed
and described through the cooperation of the _penitente_ brothers of
Abiquiú, New Mexico._

THE AUTHOR: _Richard E. Ahlborn is associate curator in the Division
of Cultural History in the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of History
and Technology._


This study describes two earthern buildings and their special
furnishings--humble but unique documents of Spanish-American culture.
The two structures are located in Abiquiú, a rural, Spanish-speaking
village in northern New Mexico. Known locally as _moradas_, they serve
as meeting houses for members of a flagellant brotherhood, the

The _penitente_ brotherhood is characteristic of Spanish culture in
New Mexico (herein called _Hispano_ to indicate its derivation from
Hispanic traditions in Mexico). Although penitential activities
occurred in Spain's former colonies--Mexico, Argentina, and the
Philippines--the _penitentes_ in the mountainous region that extends
north of Albuquerque into southern Colorado are remarkable for their

After a century and a half of clerical criticism[1] and extracultural
pressures against the movement, physical evidence of _penitente_
activity, although scattered and diminished, still survives. As
intact, functioning artifacts, the _penitente moradas_ at Abiquiú are
valuable records of an autonomous, socio-religious brotherhood and of
its place in the troubled history of Spanish-American culture in the

This paper maintains that _penitentes_ are not culturally deviant or
aberrant but comprise a movement based firmly in Hispanic traditions
as shown by their architecture and equipment found at Abiquiú and by
previously established religious and social practices. Also, this
paper presents in print for the first time a complete, integrated, and
functioning group of _penitente_ artifacts documented, in situ, by

My indebtedness in this study to local residents is immense: first,
for inspiration, from Rosenaldo Salazar of Hernández and his son
Regino, who introduced me to _penitente_ members at Abiquiú and four
times accompanied me to the _moradas_. The singular opportunity to
measure and to photograph interiors and individual artifacts is due
wholly to the understandably wary but proud, _penitentes_ themselves.
The task of identifying religious images in the _moradas_ was expertly
done by E. Boyd, Curator of the Spanish-Colonial Department in the
Museum of New Mexico at Santa Fe. The final responsibility for
accuracy and interpretation of data, of course, is mine alone.

[1] Beginning in 1820 with the report of ecclesiastic visitor Niño de
Guevara, the Catholic Church has continued to frown upon _penitente_
activities, A modern critical study by a churchman: FATHER ANGÉLICO
CHAVEZ, "The Penitentes of New Mexico," _New Mexico Historical Review_
(April 1954), vol. 22, pp. 97-123.

_Penitente Organization_

_Penitente_ brotherhoods usually are made up of Spanish-speaking
Catholic laymen in rural communities. Although the activities and
artifacts vary in specific details, the basic structure, ceremonies,
and aims of _penitentes_ as a cultural institution may be generalized.
Full membership is open only to adult males. Female relatives may
serve _penitente_ chapters as auxiliaries who clean, cook, and join in
prayer, as do children on occasion, but men hold all offices and make
up the membership-at-large.

_Penitente_ membership comprises two strata distinguishable by title
and activity. In his study of _Hispano_ institutional values, Monro
Edmonson notes that _penitente_ chapters are divided into these two
groups: (1) common members or brothers in discipline, _hermanos
disciplantes_; and (2) officers, called brothers of light, _hermanos
de luz_.

Edmonson names each officer and lists his duties:

 The head of the chapter is the _hermano mayor_. He is assisted in
 administrative duties by the warden (_celador_) and the collector
 (_mandatario_), and in ceremonial duties by an assistant
 (_coadjutor_), reader (_secretario_), blood-letter (_sangredor_) and
 flutist (_pitero_). An official called the nurse (_enfermero_)
 attends the flagellants, and a master of novices (_maestro de
 novios_) supervises the training of new members.[2]

In an early and apparently biased account of the _penitentes_,
Reverend Alexandar Darley,[3] a Presbyterian missionary in southern
Colorado, provides additional terms for three officers: _picador_ (the
blood-letter), _regador_ or _rezador_ (a tenth officer, who led
prayers) and _mayordomo de la muerte_ (literally "steward of death").
As host for meetings between _penitente_ chapters, the _mayordomo_ may
be a late 19th-century innovation that bears the political overtones
of a local leader.[4]

Having less influence than individual officers are the _penitente_
members-at-large, numbering between thirty and fifty in each chapter.
Through the _Hispano_ family system of extended bilateral kinship,
however, much of the village population is represented in each local
_penitente_ group.

Edmonson's study in the Rimrock district demonstrates the deep sense
of social responsibility felt by _penitentes_ for members and their
extended family circles. "Special assistants were appointed from time
to time to visit the sick or perform other community services which
the brotherhood may undertake."[5] At other times of need, especially
in sickness and death, the general _penitente_ membership renders
invaluable service to the afflicted family. In addition, _penitente_
welfare efforts include spiritual as well as physical comfort such as
wakes, prayers and rosaries, and the singing of funereal chants
(_alabados_). At Española in November of 1965, I witnessed
_penitentes_ contributing such help to respected nonmembers: grave
digging, financial aid, and a rosary service with _alabados_.

These spiritual services, however, are peripheral to the principal
religious activity of _penitentes_--the Lenten observance of the
Passion and death of Jesus. During Holy Week, prayer meetings,
rosaries, and _via crucis_ processions with religious images are held
at the _morada_ and at a site representing Calvary (_calvario_),
usually the local cemetery. On Good Friday, vigils are kept and the
_morada_ is darkened for a service known as _las tinieblas_. The
ceremony of "the darkenings" consists of silent prayer broken by
violent noise making. Metal sheets and chains, wooden blocks and
rattles are manipulated to suggest natural disturbances at the moment
of Jesus' death on the cross. This emphatic portrayal of His last
hours is recalled also by acts of contrition and flagellation in
_penitente_ initiation rites, punishments, and Holy Week processions.

_Penitentes_ use physical discipline and mortification as a dramatic
means to intensify their imitation of Jesus' suffering.[6] Heavy
timber crosses (_maderos_) and cactus whips (_disciplinas_) are used
in processions that often include a figure of death in a cart (_la
carreta de la muerte_). Disciplinary and initiatory mortification in
the _morada_ makes use of flint or glass blood-letting devices

[2] MONRO S. EDMONSON, _Los Manitos: A Study of Institutional Values_
(Publ. 25, Middle American Research Institute; New Orleans: Tulane
University, 1950), p. 43.

[3] ALEXANDER M. DARLEY, _The Passionists of the Southwest_ (Pueblo,

[4] E. BOYD, Curator of the Spanish-Colonial Department, Museum of New
Mexico, Santa Fe, states that Jesús Trujjillo in 1947 furnished
information on other _penitente_ officers, including one man who uses
the _matraca_ and one who acts as a sergeant at arms.

[5] EDMONSON, loc. cit.

[6] GEORGE WHARTON JAMES, _New Mexico: Land of the Delight Makers_
(Boston, 1920), lists concisely the Biblical and historical references
to religious mortification practiced by New Mexican _penitentes_.

[7] DARLEY (op. cit., pp. 8 ff.) gives an exhaustive list of methods
of mortification said to be used by _penitentes_.

_Origins of the Penitente Movement_

By 1833, bodily penance practiced in lay brotherhoods of _Hispano_
Catholics attracted criticism from the Church in New Mexico and
resulted in the pejorative name _penitentes_.[8] Historically,
however, within the traditional framework of Hispanic Catholicism, the
_penitentes_ had precedents for their religious practices, including

_Penitente_ rites were derived from Catholic services already common
in colonial New Mexico. Prayers and rosaries said before altars
comprised an important part of _Hispano_ religious observances, and
processions of Catholics and _penitentes_ alike were announced by
bell, drum, and rifle in _Hispano_ villages. In particular,
_penitentes_ used _via crucis_ processions to dramatize the Passion,
portrayed in every Catholic church by the fourteen Stations of the
Cross. _Penitentes_ also maintained Catholic Lenten practices by
holding _tenebrae_ services, the _tinieblas_ rites mentioned above,
and by flagellation.

These parallels between Catholic and _penitente_ religious observances
caused Edmonson to theorize that "the autonomous movement originated
within the Church."[9] Variations, however, between the two religious
traditions led Edmonson to discover "an important thread of religious
independence and even apostasy in New Mexican history."[10] Edmonson's
study of 1950 has established the persistence of _penitente_ activity
in _Hispano_ culture.

Three and a half centuries earlier, in 1598, Spanish settlers made a
courageous thrust into the inhospitable environment of New Mexico.
Through the 17th and 18th centuries, Spanish settlement along the
upper Rio Grande was a tenuous thread unraveled from a stronger fabric
in Mexico. Aridity and extremes in temperatures marked New Mexico's
climate. Arable land was scarce and could be extended back from
streams only by careful upkeep of the irrigation ditches. Plateaus
rose from 1500 to more than 2500 meters in altitude. Building timbers
were hard to obtain without roads or navigable rivers.

Finally, distance itself was a challenge, sometimes insurmountable for
the supply caravans from Mexico. Outfitted over a thousand miles to
the south of Santa Fe, the Mexican caravans brought _presidio_ and
mission supplies, but few goods for the common settler. By the end of
the 18th century, Spanish authorities thought of the northern colonies
(_provincias internas_) primarily as missionary fields and military
buffer zones.[11]

Cultural traditions and an insecure environment caused Spanish
colonists to turn to religion for comfort. Again, however, a supply
problem arose. Individual _ranchos_ were too scattered for clerical
visits, and even settlements that were grouped for greater security,
_poblaciones_ or _plazas_, became _visitas_ on little more than an
annual basis, sharing two dozen Franciscan clergy with missions
assigned to Indian _pueblos_ and Spanish villages. Before 1800, a
shortage of friars prompted the Bishop in Durango to send secular
clergy into the Franciscan enclave of New Mexico. In 1821 the Mexican
Revolution formalized secularization with a new constitution. In
brief, the traditional religious patterns of the _Hispanos_ were
threatened. They needed reinforcement if they were to survive.

By 1850, other conditions in New Mexico endangered the status quo of
the Spanish-speaking residents. With the growing dominance of
Anglo-Americans in the commercial, military, political, and social
matters of Santa Fe, _Hispanos_ recognized the threat of Anglo culture
to their own traditional way of life. This cultural challenge turned
many _Hispanos_ back in upon themselves for physical and social
security and for spiritual comfort. By the second quarter of the 19th
century, _penitentes_ were common in _Hispano_ villages such as
Abiquiú.[12] The immediate origins of penitentism were clearly present
in early 19th-century New Mexico.

Despite this evidence, historians of the Spanish Southwest have
suggested geographically and culturally remote sources for the
_penitentes_. Dorothy Woodward has pointed out similarities between
New Mexican _penitentes_ and Spanish brotherhoods (_cofradías_) of
laymen.[13] _Cofradías_ were not full church orders like the
Franciscan Third Order, but they did conduct Lenten processions with

Somewhat nearer in miles but culturally more distant from _Hispano
penitente_ experience was mortification practiced by Indians in New
Spain. In the 16th century, Spanish chroniclers reported incidents
ranging from sanguinary ceremonies of central Mexican tribes to
whippings witnessed in the northern provinces of Sonora and New
Mexico. While of peripheral interest to this study, these activities
of American Indians had no direct bearing on _Hispano_ cultural needs
in early 19th-century New Mexico.

It is more significant that _Hispanos_ already knew a lay religious
institution that very easily could have served as a model for the
_penitente_ brotherhood--the Third Order of St. Francis. Established
in 13th-century Italy and carried to Spain by the Gray Friars, the
Order is recorded in contemporary histories of New Mexico before
1700. Materials in the archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe also
document the presence of the Franciscan Third Order in New Mexico and
suggest to me its influence on _penitente_ activity.[14]

In March 1776, Fray Domínguez, an ecclesiastic visitor, recorded
Lenten "exercises" of the Third Order under the supervision of the
resident priest at Santa Cruz and, two weeks later, in April,
Domínguez visited Abiquiú, where he commended the Franciscan friar,
Fray Sebastian Angel Fernández, for "feasts of Our Lady, rosary with
the father in church. Fridays of Lent, _Via Crucis_ with the father,
and later, after dark, discipline attended by those who came
voluntarily."[15] Domínguez, however, described the priest as "not at
all obedient to rule"[16] when Father Fernández, acting in an
independent manner, proceeded to build missions at Picuris and Sandia
without authorization. But in 1777, he again praised Fray Fernández
for special _Via Crucis_ devotions and "scourging by the resident
missionary and some of the faithful."[17] Domínguez thus documented
flagellant practices and _tinieblas_ services at Abiquiú and his
approval, as an official Church representative, of these activities.

Father Chavez, O.F.M., protests the theory of _penitente_ origins in
the Third Order of St. Francis and counters with the idea that
"penitentism" was imported directly from Mexico in the early
1800s.[18] I note, however, that the bishops seated in Santa Fe after
1848 recognized the strength of this lay socio-religious movement and
tried to deal with it in terms of the Order. At a synod in 1888,
Archbishop Salpointe pleaded for _penitentes_ "to return" to the Third
Order. Some degree of direct influence of the Third Order on
"penitentism" seems fairly certain.

[8] ANGÉLICO CHAVEZ, _Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe,
1678-1900_ (Washington, 1957): "Books of Patentes," 1833: books xi,
xii, xix, lxxiii, and lxxxii. (Original documents from archives noted
hereinafter as AASF.)

[9] EDMONSON, p. 33.

[10] Ibid., p. 18.

[11] H. E. BOLTON, "The Spanish Borderlands and the Mission as a
Frontier Institution," _American Historical Review_ (Santa Fe, 1917),
vol. 23, pp. 42-61, indicates that this policy was developed after
1765 by Charles III of Spain in an attempt to reorganize the
administration of his vast colonial empire.

[12] AASF, Patentes, book lxxiii, box 6.

[13] "The Penitentes of the Southwest" (unpublished Ph. D.
dissertation, Yale University, 1935).

[14] CHAVEZ, _Archives_, p. 3 (ftn.).

[15] FRAY FRANCISCO ATANASIO DOMÍNGUEZ, _The Missions of New Mexico,
1776_, transl. and annot. Eleanor B. Adams and Fray Angelico Chavez
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1956), p. 124.

[16] DOMÍNGUEZ, ms., from Biblioteca Nacional de Méjico, leg. 10, no.
46, p. 300.

[17] Ibid., no. 43, p. 321.

[18] CHAVEZ, "Penitentes," p. 100.

_The History of Abiquiú_

About three generations before the first _morada_ was built at
Abiquiú, the conditions of settlement mentioned earlier and subsequent
historical events resulted in an environment conducive to the
development of _penitente_ activity. Shortly after 1740, civil
authorities in Santa Fe attempted to settle colonists along the Chama
River in order to create a buffer zone between marauding Indians to
the northwest and Spanish and Pueblo villages on the Rio Grande
(Figure 1). This constant threat of annihilation produced self-reliant
and independent-minded settlers.

[Illustration: FIGURE 1. Mid-19th-century New Mexico, showing
pertinent geographical features, Indian pueblos (indicated by solid
triangles), and Spanish villages cited in text.]

Unorthodoxy appeared early in the religious history of Abiquiú. By
1744, settlers had installed Santa Rosa de Lima as their patroness in
a little riverside plaza near modern Abiquiú. After a decade, several
colonists from Santa Rosa were moved to the hilltop plaza of Abiquiú,
where the mission of Santo Tomás Apostol had been established. In his
1776 visit to Abiquiú, Domínguez noted, however, a continuing
allegiance to the earlier patroness: "... settlers use the name of
Santa Rosa, as the lost mission was called in the old days. Therefore,
they celebrate the feast of this female saint [August 30th] and not of
that masculine saint [St. Thomas the Apostle, December 21]."[19]
Loyalty to Saint Rose survived this official protest, and village
festivals have persisted in honoring Santa Rosa to this day. It is,
therefore, not surprising to find her image in the earlier east
_morada_ of Abiquiú.

A disturbing influence in the religious life of Abiquiú were
semi-Christianized servants _(genízaros)_, who had been ransomed from
the Indians by Spaniards.[20] Often used to establish frontier
settlements, _genízaros_ came to be a threat to the cultural stability
of Abiquiú. For example, in 1762, two _genízaros_ accused of
witchcraft were taken to Santa Cruz for judicial action. After the
trial, Governor Cachupín sent a detachment from Santa Fe to Abiquiú to
destroy an inscribed stone said to be a relic of black magic.[21]
Similar incidents with _genízaros_ during the next generation
prolonged the unstable religious pattern at Abiquiú. In 1766, an
Indian girl accused a _genízaro_ couple of killing the resident
priest, Fray Felix Ordoñez y Machado, by witchcraft.[22] And again in
1782 and 1786, charges of apostasy were entered against Abiquiú

Another disturbing element in the religious history of Abiquiú was the
disinterest of her settlers in the building and furnishing of Santo
Tomás Mission. Although the structure was completed in the first
generation of settlement at Abiquiú, 1755 to 1776, Domínguez could
report only two contributions from colonists, both loans: "In this
room [sacristy] there is an ordinary table with a drawer and key ... a
loan from a settler called Juan Pablo Martin ... the chalice is in
three pieces, and one of them, for it is a loan by the settlers, is
used for a little shrine they have."[24] All mission equipment was
supplied by royal funds (_sínodos_) except some religious articles
provided by the resident missionary, Fray Fernández, who finished the
structure raised half way by his predecessor, Fray Juan José Toledo.
Both Franciscans found settlers busy with everyday problems of
survival and resentful when called on to labor for the mission. The
settlers not only failed to supply any objects, but when they were
required to work at the mission, all tools and equipment had to be
supplied to them.[25]

Despite these detrimental influences, the mission at Abiquiú continued
to grow. Between 1760 and 1793, the population increased from 733 to
1,363, making Abiquiú the third largest settlement in colonial New
Mexico north of Paso del Norte [Ciudad Juarez].[26] (Only Santa Cruz
with 1,650 and Santa Fe with 2,419 persons were larger.) In 1795, the
pueblo had maintained its size at 1,558, with Indians representing
less than 10 percent of the population.[27]

The increase in size brought the mission at Abiquiú more important and
longer-term resident missionaries: Fathers José de la Prada, from 1789
to 1806, and Teodoro Alcina de la Borda, from 1806 to 1823. Both men
were elected directors (_custoses_) of the Franciscan mission field in
New Mexico, "The Custody of the Conversion of St. Paul." _Custoses_
Prada and Borda backed the Franciscans, who were fighting for a
missionary field that they had long considered their own. Official
directives (_patentes_) issued by _Custos_ Prada at Abiquiú warned all
settlers against "new ideas of liberty" and asked each friar for his
personal concept of governmental rights.[28] In 1802, Fray Prada also
complained to the new _Custos_, Father Sanchez Vergara, about missions
that had been neglected under the secular clergy.[29] In this period,
Abiquiú's mission was a center of clerical reaction to the
revolutionary political ideas and clerical secularization that had
resulted from Mexico's recent independence from Spain.

In the year 1820, the strained relations between religious authorities
and the laity at Abiquiú clearly reflected the unstable conditions in
New Mexico. Eventually, charges of manipulating mission funds and
neglect of clerical duties were brought against Father Alcina de la
Borda by the citizens of Abiquiú.[30] At the same time, Governor
Melgares informed the _Alcalde Mayor_, Santiago Salazar, that these
funds (_sínodos_) had been reduced and that an oath of loyalty to the
Spanish crown would be required.[31] This situation produced a strong
reaction in Abiquiú's next generation, which sought to preserve its
traditional cultural patterns in the _penitente_ brotherhoods.

The great-grandsons of Abiquiú's first settlers witnessed a
significant change in organization of their mission--its
secularization in 1826. For three years, Father Borda had shared his
mission duties with Franciscans from San Juan and Santa Clara
_pueblos_, giving way in 1823 to the last member of the Order to serve
Santo Tomás, Fray Sanchez Vergara. Santo Tomás Mission received its
first secular priest in 1823, Cura Leyva y Rosas, who returned to
Abiquiú in 1832. Officially the mission at Abiquiú was secularized in
1826, along with those at Belén and Taos.[32]

The first secular priest assigned to Santo Tomás reflected the now
traditional and self-sufficient character of _Hispano_ culture at
Abiquiú.[33] He was the independent-minded Don Antonio José Martínez.
Born in Abiquiú, Don Antonio later became an ambitious spiritual and
political leader in Taos, where he fought to preserve traditional
_Hispano_ culture from Anglo-American influences.

The mission served by Father Martínez in Taos bore resemblance to that
at Abiquiú. Both missions rested on much earlier Indian settlements,
but the Taos pueblo was still active. Furthermore, Taos and Abiquiú
were buffer settlements on the frontier, where Indian raids as well as
trade occurred. In 1827 a census by P. B. Pino listed nearly 3,600
persons at Taos and a similar count at Abiquiú; only Santa Fe with
5,700 and Santa Cruz with 6,500 were larger villages.

At this time, an independent element appeared in the religious
activities of the Santa Cruz region. In 1831, Vicar Rascon gave
permission to sixty members of the Third Order of St. Francis at Santa
Cruz to hold Lenten exercises in Taos, provided that no "abuses" arose
to be corrected on his next visit.[34] Apparently this warning proved
inadequate, for in 1833 Archbishop Zubiría concluded his visitation at
Santa Cruz by ordering that "pastors of this villa ... must never in
the future permit such reunions of _Penitentes_ under any pretext
whatsoever."[35] We have noted, however, that two generations earlier
Fray Domínguez had commended similar observances at Santa Cruz and
Abiquiú, and it was not until the visitation of Fray Niño de Guevara,
1817-1820, that Church officials found it necessary to condemn
penitential activity in New Mexico.[36]

In little more than two generations, from 1776 to 1833, the Franciscan
missions were disrupted by secularization and excessive acts of
penance. In the second half of the 19th century, the new, non-Spanish
Archbishops, Lamy and Salpointe, saw a relation between the Franciscan
Third Order and the brotherhood of _penitentes_. When J. B. Lamy began
signing rule books (_arreglos_) for the _penitente_ chapters of New
Mexico,[37] he hoped to reintegrate them into accepted Church practice
as members of the Third Order. And at the end of the century, J. B.
Salpointe expressed his belief that the _penitente_ brotherhood had
been an outgrowth of the Franciscan tertiaries.[38]

Abiquiú shared in events that marked the religious history of New
Mexico in the last three quarters of the 19th century. We have noted
the secularization of Santo Tomás Mission in 1826; by 1856 the village
had its _penitente_ rule book duly signed by Archbishop Lamy. Entitled
_Arreglo de la Santa Hermandad de la Sangre de Nuestro Señor
Jesucristo_, a copy was signed by Abiquiú's priest, Don Pedro Bernal,
on April 6, 1867.[39] While officialdom worked out new religious and
political relations, villagers struggled to preserve a more familiar

Occupation of New Mexico in 1846 by United States troops tended to
solidify traditional _Hispano_ life in Abiquiú. In that year, Navajo
harassments caused an encampment of 180 men under Major Gilpin to be
stationed at Abiquiú.[40] Eventually, the Indian raids slackened, and
a trading post for the Utes was set up at Abiquiú in 1853.[41] Neither
the U.S. Army nor Indian trading posts, however, became integrated
into Abiquiú's _Hispano_ way of life, and these extracultural
influences soon moved on, leaving only a few commercial artifacts.

With a new generation of inhabitants occupying Abiquiú between 1864
and 1886, the village on the Rio Chama lost its primary function as a
buffer settlement against nomadic Indians and settled down into a
well-established cultural pattern, which in part was preserved by the
_penitentes_. Kit Carson had rounded up the Navajos at Bosque Redondo,
and two decades later, by 1883, the Utes had been moved north. In
preparation, the Indian trading post at Abiquiú was closed in 1872 and
moved to the new seat of Rio Arriba County, Tierra Amarilla,[42] 65
kilometers northward. Within two generations, Abiquiú's population had
fallen to fewer than 800 from a high of nearly 3,600 in 1827.[43] As a
result, many _Hispanos_ at Abiquiú withdrew into the _penitente_
organization, which promised to preserve and even intensify their
traditional ways of life and beliefs. These attitudes were
materialized in the building of the _penitente moradas_.

[19] DOMÍNGUEZ, _Missions_, pp. 121 (ftn. 1), 200.

[20] AASF, Patentes, 1700, forbids friars to buy _genízaros_ even
under the excuse of Christianizing them since the result would likely
be morally dangerous.

[21] H. H. BANCROFT, _History of Arizona and New Mexico_ (San
Francisco, 1889), p. 258.

[22] DOMÍNGUEZ, _Missions_, p. 336.

[23] AASF, Loose Documents, Mission, 1782, no. 7.

[24] DOMÍNGUEZ, _Missions_, p. 122.

[25] Ibid., p. 123.

[26] BANCROFT, p. 279.

[27] AASF, Loose Documents, Mission, 1795, no. 13.

[28] Ibid., 1796, nos. 6, 7.

[29] Ibid., 1802, no. 18.

[30] Ibid., 1820, nos. 15, 21, 38; also R. E. TWITCHELL, _The Spanish
Archives of New Mexico_ (Cedar Rapids, 1914), vol. 2, pp. 630, 631.

[31] AASF, Loose Documents, Mission, 1820, nos. 12, 21.

[32] Ibid., 1826, no. 7.

[33] Don Antonio was less than eager to accept his first post; he had
to be ordered to report to duty (AASF, Accounts, book lxvi [box 6],
April 27, 1826).

[34] AASF, Patentes, 1831, book lxx, box 4, p. 25.

[35] Ibid., book lxxiii, box 7.

[36] AASF, Accounts, book lxii, box 5.

[37] AASF, Loose Documents, Diocesan, 1853, no. 17, for Santuario and
Cochiti; other rule books document _penitente_ chapters at Chimayo, El
Rito, and Taos.

[38] JEAN B. SALPOINTE, _Soldiers of the Cross_ (Banning, Calif.,

[39] AASF, Loose Documents, Diocesan, 1856, no. 12.

[40] TWITCHELL, pp. 533-534.

[41] BANCROFT, p. 665.

[42] TWITCHELL, p. 447.

[43] Ibid., p. 449, from P. B. PINO, _Notícias históricas_ (Méjico,
1848); and _Ninth U.S. Census_ (1870). The later figure may represent
only the town proper; earlier statistics generally included outlying

_The Architecture of the Moradas_

In a modern map (Figure 2), circles enclose the Mission of Abiquiú and
its two _penitente moradas_. The _moradas_ lie 300 meters east and 400
meters south of the main plaza onto which Santo Tomás Mission faces
from the north. Between the _moradas_ rests the local burial ground
(_campo santo_), a cemetery that serves _penitentes_ as "Calvary"
(_calvario_) in their Lenten re-enactment of the Passion.

[Illustration: FIGURE 2. The Abiquiú area, showing the Chama River,
U.S. Highway 84, and siting of buildings (the mission of Santo Tomás
and the two _moradas_ are circled).]

_Penitente moradas_ share a common system of _adobe_ construction with
the religious and domestic structures of New Mexico. While the Indians
set walls of puddled earth directly on the ground, the Spaniards,
following Moorish precedent, laid _adobe_ bricks on stone foundations.
Standard house-size _adobes_ average 15 by 30 by 50 centimeters.
_Adobe_ bricks are made by packing a mixture of mud, sand, and straw
into a wood frame from which the block then is knocked out onto the
ground to dry in the sun. Stones set in _adobe_ mortar provide a
foundation. The sun-dried bricks, which are also laid in _adobe_
mortar, form exterior, load-bearing walls and interior partitions.

Spanish _adobe_ construction also employs wood. Openings are framed
and closed with a lintel that projects well into the wall. These
recessed lintel faces often are left exposed after the plastering of
adjoining surfaces. Roofs are transverse beams (_vigas_), which in
turn hold small cross branches (_savinos_) or planks (_tablas_). A
final layer of brush and _adobe_ plaster closes the surface cracks.
Plank drains (_canales_), rectangular in section, lead water from this
soft roof surface (Figure 3).

[Illustration: FIGURE 3. North roofline of east _morada_, showing
exposed ends of ceiling beams (_vigas_), chimney of oratory stove, and
construction of water drain (_canal_).]

Domestic _adobe_ structures differ from ecclesiastic buildings in
scale and in spatial arrangement. Colonial New Mexican churches are
relatively large, unicellular spaces. Their simple nave volume often
is made cruciform by a transept whose higher roof allows for a
clerestory. A choir loft over the entry and a narrowed, elevated
sanctuary further articulate the space at each end of the nave. In
contrast, _Hispano_ houses consist of several low rooms set in a line
or grouped around a court (_placita_) in which a gate and porch
(_portal_) are placed. Rooms vary in width according to the length of
the transverse beams, which usually are from four to six meters

The everyday living spaces inside Spanish-New Mexican houses tend to
combine domestic activities and to appear similar in space and decor.
Inside a _Hispano_ church, however, areas of special useage are marked
off clearly within the volume. Celebration of the mass requires a
special spatial treatment to indicate the sanctuary. This area is
emphasized by an arched entry, lateral pilasters, raised floor, and
characteristically convergent side walls. These slanting walls provide
better vision for the congregation and easier movement for the
celebrants. The convergent wall of sanctuaries is often visible from
the exterior. It is noteworthy that both the contracted sanctuary of
local churches and the linear arrangement of domestic interiors appear
in the _penitente moradas_ of Abiquiú.

In the plans of the Abiquiú _moradas_ (Figure 4), the identical
arrangement of the three rooms reveals an origin in the typical
_Hispano_ house form. George Kubler has observed that the design of
_moradas_ "is closer to the domestic architecture of New Mexico than
to the churches."[45] Bainbridge Bunting confirms the houselike form
of _moradas_ but notes their lack of uniformity.[46] In comparison to
_moradas_ of the L-plan,[47] and even of the pre-1856 T-plan structure
at Arroyo Hondo,[48] the two _penitente_ buildings at Abiquiú preserve
a simple | shape with one significant variation--a contracted chancel.

[Illustration: FIGURE 4. Plans of south _morada_ (top) and east
_morada_ (bottom): A=altar; B=standard; C=candelabra; D=sandbox;
E=benches; F=fireplace; G=stove; H=chest; I=tub.]

The basic form of the Abiquiú _moradas_ (Figures 5 and 6) is a
rectangular box that closely resembles nearby houses. Even the long,
windowless north facade of both Abiquiú _moradas_ recalls the unbroken
walls of earlier _Hispano_ houses in hostile frontier regions. The
Abiquiú _moradas_, however, possess one exception to the domestic
form--a narrowed, accented end. On each _morada_ the west end is
blunted and buttressed by a salient bell tower of stones laid in
_adobe_ mortar and strengthened by horizontal boards (Figures 7 and
8). This innovation in the form of the Abiquiú _moradas_ appears to be
ecclesiastic in origin.

[Illustration: FIGURE 5. SOUTH _Morada_. SIZE: 24.02 meters long, 5.41
wide, 3.51 high. DATE: About 1900. LOCATION: 400 meters south of Santo
Tomás Church in main plaza; seen from southeast corner. MANUFACTURE:
_Adobe_ bricks on stone foundation; wood door and window frames.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 6. EAST _Morada_. SIZE: 28.82 meters long, 4.88
wide, 3.58 high. DATE: 19th century. LOCATION: 300 meters
east-southeast of Santo Tomás Church in main plaza; seen from
northeast corner. MANUFACTURE: _Adobe_ bricks set on stone foundation;
wood drains (_canales_) and beam (_viga_) ends at top of wall.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 7. West end of south _morada_, showing
construction of bell tower and contracted sanctuary walls.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 8. Northwest view of east _morada_, showing
limestone slab bell tower on contracted west end.]

Plans of churches built close to Abiquiú in time, distance, and
orientation could have served as sources for the design of the
_moradas'_ west ends (Figure 9). Only five kilometers east of Abiquiú
stood the chapel dedicated to Santa Rosa de Lima. As shown in Figure 9F,
the sanctuary in its west end had a raised floor and flanking entry
pilasters, features found in the east _morada's_ west end. This chapel
was dedicated about 1744 and was still active as a _visíta_ from
Abiquiú in 1830.[49] Through this period and to the present, the
popularity of Saint Rose of Lima has persisted at Abiquiú. Her nearby
chapel would have been a likely and logical choice for the design of
the _morada's_ sanctuary end.

[Illustration: FIGURE 9. Plans of two Abiquiú _moradas_ compared to
New Mexican churches with contracted sanctuaries: A, south _morada_,
B, east _morada_; C, Zía Mission; D, San Miguel in Santa Fe; E, Santa
Cruz; F, Santa Rosa; G, Ranchos de Taos; H, the _santuario_ at
Chimayo; I, Córdova. (From Kubler, _Religious Architecture_ [see ftn.
45]: C=his figure 8; D=28, E=9, F=34, G=13, H=22, I=35.)]

A second possible source for the contracted ends of the Abiquiú
_moradas_ would be the south transept chapel of the Third Order of St.
Francis at Santa Cruz (Figure 9E). It was completed shortly before
1798[50] and served Franciscan tertiaries into the 1830s. Plans
compared in Figure 9 indicate that the dimensions of this left
transept chapel at Santa Cruz measure only five percent larger than
the chapel room of the east _morada_ at Abiquiú, and the plans also
reveal contracted chancel walls at both locations.

The concept of a constricted sanctuary as seen in Abiquiú _moradas_
originated in earlier Spanish and Mexican churches. In 1479, architect
Juan Guas used a trapezoidal apse plan in San Juan de los Reyes at
Toledo and, by 1512, the design found its way into America's first
cathedral at Santo Domingo. Within the first century of Spanish
colonization, contracted sanctuary walls appeared on the American
mainland in Arciniega's revised plan for Mexico City's Cathedral
(post-1584)[51] and, again, in New Mexico, where it first appeared at
the stone mission of Zía, built about 1614 (Figure 9C). Once
established in the Franciscan province, the concept of converging
sanctuary walls survived the 1680 Indian revolt and returned with the
reconquest of New Mexico in 1693. Spaniards raised and rebuilt
missions from the capital at Santa Fe (San Miguel, rebuilt 1710;
Figure 9D) north to Taos (San Geronimo, 1706). Throughout the 18th
century, in a three-to-one ratio, the churches of New Mexico used the
contracted, as opposed to the box, sanctuary.

In the early 19th century, churches at Ranchos de Taos (1805-1815[52];
Figure 9G), Chimayo (about 1810; Figure 9H), and Córdova (after 1830;
Figure 9I) continued to employ the trapezoidal sanctuary form. By
midcentury, _penitente_ brotherhoods are known to have been active in
these villages, and the local ecclesiastic structures could have acted
as an influence in the design of the _penitente moradas_ at Abiquiú.

In summary, the _moradas_ at Abiquiú are traditional regional
buildings in material and in basic form. The pointed west end of each
building, however, is an ecclesiastic innovation in an otherwise
typical domestic design. These _moradas_ provide a significant design
variant in the history of Spanish-American architecture in New Mexico.

[44] The "Hall of Everyday Life in the American Past" in the Museum of
History and Technology (Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.)
displays an interior typical of a Spanish-New Mexican _adobe_ house of
about 1800.

[45] GEORGE KUBLER, _The Religious Architecture of New Mexico_
(Colorado Springs, 1940), p. viii.

[46] BAINBRIDGE BUNTING, _Taos Adobes_ (Santa Fe, 1964), P. 54.

[47] L-plan _moradas_ are pictured by Woodward [see ftn. 13] in a 1925
photograph at San Mateo, a different _morada_ from that illustrated in
CHARLES F. LUMMIS, _Land of Poco Tiempo_ (New York, 1897), as well as
in another Woodward photograph [see ftn. 13] taken on the road to
Chimayo. L. B. PRINCE, _Spanish Mission Churches of New Mexico_ (Cedar
Rapids, 1915), shows an L-plan _morada_ near Las Vegas. Was the L-plan
house an unconscious recall of the more secure structure that
completely enclosed a _placita_?

[48] BUNTING, p. 56. After 1960 the Arroyo Hondo _morada_ became the
private residence of Larry Franks.

[49] AASF, Loose Documents, Mission, 1829 (May 27).

[50] KUBLER, _Religious Architecture_, p. 103.

[51] GEORGE KUBLER and MARTIN SORIA, _The Art and Architecture of
Spain and Portugal and Their American Dominions, 1500 to 1800_
(Baltimore, 1959), pp. 3, 64, 74.

[52] E. BOYD, interview, April 1966. Building date of about 1780
usually is given for the present church. Boyd, however, states that
documents in AASF support the tree-ring dates given in KUBLER.
_Religious Architecture_, p. 121, as 1816±10.

_Interior Space and Artifacts_

The plans of the two _penitente moradas_ of Abiquiú (Figure 4) reveal
an identical arrangement of interior space. There are three rooms in
each _morada_: (1) the longest is on the west end and, with its
constricted sanctuary space, acts as an oratory; (2) the center room
serves as a sacristy; and (3) the east room is for storage. The only
major difference between the two _moradas_ is the length of the
storage room, which is nearly twice as long in the east _morada_. The
remarkable similarities in design suggest that one served as the model
for the other; local oral tradition holds that the east _morada_ is

Internal evidence indicates that the east _morada_ is indeed the older
one. As shown in Figure 2, the south _morada_ is located farther from
the Abiquiú _plaza_, suggesting it was built at a later date--perhaps
nearer 1900, when public and official criticism had prompted greater
privacy for Holy Week processions, which were considered spectacles by
tourists. In addition, the lesser width of the south _morada_ rooms,
the square-milled beams in the oratory, and the fireplace in the east
end storage room indicate that it was built after the east _morada_.
In contrast, the two corner fireplaces of the east _morada_ are set in
the center room, while another heating arrangement--an oil drum set on
a low _adobe_ dais--appears to have been added at a later date.

The east _morada_ was the obvious model for the builders of the later
one on the south edge of Abiquiú. Local _penitentes_ admit that there
was a division in the original chapter just prior to 1900[54] but deny
that the separation was made because of political differences, as
suggested by one author.[55] The older members say that the first
_morada_ merely had become too large for convenient use of the

The three rooms in each _morada_ are distinguished by bare,
whitewashed walls of _adobe_ plaster, hard-packed dirt floors, two
exterior doors, and three windows. A locked door is located off the
oratory in the north face of the south _morada_. Figures 10 and 11
show the sanctuaries in the south and east _morada_; and Figure 12,
the back of the east _morada_ oratory. Its open door leads into the
center room, where the members would not remove the boards on the
windows for me to take photographs. The east end room in each
_morada_ serves for storage of processional and ceremonial equipment.

[Illustration: FIGURE 10. ALTAR IN SOUTH _Morada_. SIZE: 10.05 meters
long, 3.51 wide. LOCATION: West room in south _morada_. DESCRIPTION:
Looking west into sanctuary; dirt floor with cotton rag rugs; side
walls lined with benches and hung with religious prints; square-milled
timber ceiling; draped arch with candelabra; altar and gradin with
religious images. (Numbers refer to subsequent illustrations.)]

[Illustration: FIGURE 11. ALTAR IN EAST _Morada_. DESCRIPTION: Looking
into sanctuary; dirt floor and convergent _adobe_ walls; sacristy
entry marked by drapes and raised floor; candelabra and sand boxes for
votive candles; draped altar table supplied with religious images.
(Numbers refer to subsequent illustrations.)]

[Illustration: FIGURE 12. REAR OF ORATORY, EAST _Morada_. SIZE: 10.98
meters long, 4.04 wide. LOCATION: Back of west room in east _morada_.
DESCRIPTION: Looking east, to rear of oratory. Dirt floor,
_adobe_-plastered walls, wooden benches, iron stove, framed religious
prints on walls, ceiling of round beams (_vigas_).]

STORAGE ROOM IN BOTH MORADAS.--In the south _morada_ (Figure 13),
there are cactus scourges (_disciplinas_), corrugated metal sheeting
used for roofing, and three rattles (_matracas_; Figure 14), also used
for noise-making in _tinieblas_ services. Situated here also are black
Lenten candelabrum, a ladder, a cross with silvered Passion emblems,
and massive penitential crosses (_maderos_; Figure 15). The Lenten
ladder and cross are shown next to the exterior entry (Figure 16). A
corner fireplace is flanked by locally made tin candle sconces (Figure
17). Two 19th-century kerosene lamps appear on the fireplace mantle,
and a tin-shaded lantern with its silver-plated reservoir hangs from
the ceiling (Figure 15).

[Illustration: FIGURE 13. FLOOR TUB IN STORAGE ROOM. SIZE: tub 53.3
centimeters high. LOCATION: South _morada_, northwest corner of room.
DESCRIPTION: Cement tub, dirt floor, fire wood, galvanized tubs,
enamelized buckets, braided cactus whips (_disciplinas_), wooden box
rattle (_matraca_), punched tin wall sconce, corrugated metal

[Illustration: FIGURE 14. RATTLES (_matracas_). SIZE: 26 to 40
centimeters long. LOCATION: South _morada_ storage (east) room.
DESCRIPTION: Flexible tongue set at one end of wooden frame, and
notched cylinder on handle turning in opposite end.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 15. PENITENTE CROSSES (_maderos_) IN STORAGE
ROOM. SIZES: black cross 269.2 centimeters high (Figure 16); ceiling
boards 2.5 by 15; _maderos_ 345 long. DATE: 20th century. ORIGIN: New
Mexico, unidentified carpenter. LOCATION: South _morada_, northeast
corner. DESCRIPTION: black candelabra (_tenebrario_), kerosene
lanterns, tin shades, wooden keg and box under table.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 16. CROSS AND LADDER (_cruz_ and _escalera_).
SIZE: cross 269.2 centimeters high. DATE: Fourth quarter of 19th
century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified carpenter. LOCATION: South
_morada_, storage (east) room. DESCRIPTION: Milled and carved wood
(painted), black cross and ladder, silvered nails (left arm), hammer
and pliers (right arm).]

mantel 106.7 centimeters high. LOCATION: South _morada_, southeast
corner. DESCRIPTION: Walls, fireplace, and flue of plastered _adobe_,
kerosene lamps and tin wall sconces, boarded up window to left

In each _morada_ storage area, there is a tub built on the floor that
serves to wash off blood after penance. Figure 13 shows the tub in the
south _morada_. In the older, east _morada_, the tub (Figure 18) is a
wood- and tin-lined trough pushed against the north wall and plastered
with _adobe_.

[Illustration: FIGURE 18. STORAGE ROOM, EAST _Morada_. SIZES: Tub
112.6 centimeters long, 46 wide, 25.6 high; ladder 175 high.
DESCRIPTION: Detail of north wall showing enamelized containers, tub
built into the floor for washing after penance, and ladder.]

The storage room in the east _morada_ also contains commercially made
lamps, such as the plated reservoir with stamped Neo-rococo motifs
(Figure 19). Nearby is a processional cross with two metal faces and a
small, cast corpus (Figure 20). While kerosene lanterns are evidence
of east-west rail commerce after 1880, the cross probably indicates a
southern contact, possibly through Parral or Chihuahua, Mexico.
Locally made, however, are the woven rag rugs (_jergas_) hung over a
pole (_varal_)[56] that drops from the ceiling. Also in the east
_morada_ storage are two percussion rifles (Figure 21). Craddock
Goins, Department of Armed Forces History, the Smithsonian
Institution, identifies both as common Indian trade objects from
midcentury Europe. These rifles probably were imports for sale to the
Utes at the Abiquiú trading post between 1853 and 1874. At the rear of
the room (Figure 22) rests a saw-horse table holding an assortment of
stocks for these "trade guns," of wooden rattles (_matracas_), and of
heavy crosses (_maderos_). On the ground stands a large bell, which,
in a photograph (Museum of New Mexico, Photo No. 8550) taken by
William Lippincott about 1945, appears on the tower of the _morada_.
The silhouette dates the bell as being cast after 1760. Behind the
bell rests the _morada_ death cart. Also in the room are a plank
ladder and the oil drum stove raised on an _adobe_ dais (Figure 23) to
the east of the exterior door.

centimeters wide. DATE: Second half of 19th century. ORIGIN: Imported
to New Mexico. LOCATION: East _morada_, storage (east) room.
MANUFACTURE: Silver-plated metal stamped into Rococco revival

[Illustration: FIGURE 20. PROCESSIONAL CROSS. SIZE: 30.5 centimeters
high. DATE: 19th century. ORIGIN: Imported to New Mexico, probably
from Mexico. LOCATION: East _morada_, storage (east) room.
MANUFACTURE: Punched trifoil ends in metal face, cast corpus.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 21. PERCUSSION RIFLES. SIZE: 111.8 centimeters
long. DATE: Middle of 19th century. ORIGIN: European (Belgian?)
exports. LOCATION: East _Morada_, storage (east) room.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 22. STORAGE ROOM, EAST _Morada_. SIZES: Bell 64
centimeters wide (diameter), 47.4 high; cart 122 long (frame), 70 wide
(frame), 71 between axle centers; wheels 45 high. DESCRIPTION: Detail
of east wall showing saw-horse table, corrugated sheeting, bell, and
death cart of cottonwood and pine.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 23. STORAGE ROOM, EAST _Morada_: View next to
exterior door showing low _adobe_ dais supporting oil drum stove.]

SACRISTY IN BOTH MORADAS.--While a panelled wooden box in the south
_morada_ stands inside the exterior door of the east room, another
type of chest, said to hold cooking utensils, rests in the northwest
corner of the center room of the east _morada_. Both storage chests
are located in rooms with corner fireplaces. An informant said that
these boxes held heating and cooking utensils and ceremonial
equipment, including the _penitentes'_ rule book. As noted above, the
two fireplaces in the middle room of the east _morada_ suggest that it
was built earlier than the south _morada_, which has a single
fireplace in the less active and more convenient rear storage room.
Further evidence of this point is that the storage chest in the east
_morada_ is better constructed than that in the south _morada_; the
former displays a slanted top and punch-decorated tin reinforcements
on its corners. In the center room there are several benches with
lathe-turned legs (Figure 24).

[Illustration: FIGURE 24. BENCH (_banco_). SIZE: 108 centimeters long,
51 high, 47 wide. LOCATION: East _morada_, center room.]

The central room of the south _morada_ also displays a number of
benches of an earlier style (Figure 25). Over the rear door appears an
unusual cross (Figure 26). The cross consists of two wood planks, 1.6
centimeters thick, notched together and covered with paper. The
surface bears carefully drawn, or perhaps stenciled, floral and
religious designs in indigo blue: eleven Latin crosses appear among
flowering vases, oversize buds, and 4-, 5-, and 8-pointed stars. These
motifs probably are the result of copying from weaving or quilt
pattern books of the late 19th century. A local _penitente_ leader
stated that the cross was made before 1925 by Onésimo Martínez of
Abiquiú, when the latter was in his thirties. (The strong religious
symbolism of the New Mexican designs reminds one of the stylized
motifs on Atlantic Coastal folk drawings and textiles of Germanic

[Illustration: FIGURE 25. BENCH (_banco_). SIZE: 128 centimeters long,
106 high at back, 45 wide. LOCATION: South _morada_, center room.]

(_Figure 26 is frontispiece._)

Snare drums appear in the central room of both _moradas_ (Figures 27,
28). The drum in the east _morada_ is mounted on top of a truncated
wicker basket. It is interesting to note that rifles and drums
commonly are recorded in mission choir lofts in 1776 by Domínguez.[57]
In addition to marking significant moments in church ritual, they are
used in Indian and _Hispano_ village _fiestas_.

[Illustration: FIGURE 27. SNARE DRUM (_tambor_). SIZE: 55.9
centimeters long. DATE: 19th century. ORIGIN: Imported to New Mexico.
LOCATION: East _morada_, center room. MANUFACTURE: Commercially made,
military type, rope lines with leather drum ears [tighteners].]

[Illustration: FIGURE 28. SNARE DRUM (_tambor_). SIZE: 58.4
centimeters long. DATE: 19th century. ORIGIN: Imported to New Mexico.
LOCATION: South _morada_, center room. MANUFACTURE: Commercially made,
military type, reddish stain, rope tension lines with rope and leather
drum ears [tighteners].]

Before describing religious objects in the west end rooms of Abiquiú
_moradas_, a list of similar items in Santo Tomás Mission at an
earlier date (1776) is of interest:

 a medium-sized bell ... altar table ... gradin ... altar cloth ... a
 banner ... candleholders ... processional cross ... a painted wooden
 cross ... ordinary single-leaved door ... image in the round of Our
 Lady of the [Immaculate] Conception ... a wig ... silver crown ...
 string of fine seed pearls ... ordinary bouquet ... painting on
 copper of Our Lady of Sorrows (_Dolores_) in a black frame ... _Via
 Crucis_ in small paper prints on their little boards ... a print of
 the Guadalupe.[58]

Comparable versions of each of these objects occur in Abiquiú's
_moradas_. In fact, virtually all objects found in the _penitente
moradas_ of Abiquiú are recorded as typical artifacts by church
inventories and house wills of 18th- and 19th-century Spanish New

ORATORY IN THE EAST MORADA.--In the rear of the oratory of the older
east _morada_ (Figure 12), one sees a stove and lantern on the right.
Both are imported, extracultural items. The pierced, tin
candle-lantern (Figure 29) is a common artifact found throughout
Europe and America.[60]

[Illustration: FIGURE 29. CANDLE LANTERN. SIZE: 30.5 centimeters high.
DATE: 19th century. ORIGIN: Imported to New Mexico. LOCATION: East
_morada_, chapel. MANUFACTURE: Pierced tinwork.]

Along the walls of the oratory hang imported religious prints framed
in local punch-decorated tinwork. Tin handicraft became more
widespread after 1850 when metal U.S. Army containers became available
to the _Hispanos_. Designs seen on three tin frames (Figure 30)
include twisted columns, crests, scallops, corner blocks, wings, and a
variety of simple repoussé patterns. Paper prints in the tin frame
suggest midcentury trade contacts between northern Mexico and the
Atlantic Coast. Even the Mexican War (1846-1848) did not discourage
American publishers such as Currier from appealing to Mexican
religious and national loyalties with lithographs of Our Lady of
Guadalupe (much in the same manner as the British, after the
Revolution and War of 1812, profited by selling Americans objects
that bore images of Yankee ships, eagles, and likenesses of Franklin
and Washington). A fourth piece of local tinwork (Figure 31) in the
east _morada_ oratory is a niche for a small figure of the Holy Child
of Atocha, _Santo Niño de Atocha_. This advocation of Jesus, like that
of His mother in the Guadalupe image, further indicates Mexican
influence.[61] The image of the _Atocha_ is a product of local

centimeters high (center). DATE: First three-quarters of 19th century.
ORIGIN: Prints imported to New Mexico; frames from New Mexico,
unidentified tinsmiths. LOCATION: East _morada_, walls in chapel
(west) room. MANUFACTURE: Tin frames: cut, repoussé, stamped and
soldered into Federal and Victorian designs. Prints: left,
_Guadalupe_, early 19th century, Mexican copperplate engraving;
center, _Guadalupe_, 1847, N. Currier, hand-colored lithograph; right,
_San Gregorio_ [Pope St. Gregory], mid-19th-century lithograph.]

(_nicho_ and _El Santo Niño de Atocha_). SIZE: niche 44.4 centimeters
high, image 21.6 high. DATE: Second half of 19th century. ORIGIN: New
Mexico, unidentified tinsmith and _santero_. LOCATION: East _morada_,
wall in chapel room. MANUFACTURE: Tin: cut, repoussé, soldered into
fan, shell, and guilloche designs. Image: carved wood, gessoed and
painted red and white. Rosary and artificial flowers.]

These representations of religious personages are called _santos_, and
their makers, _santeros_. Flat panel paintings are known locally as
_retablos_, while sculptured forms are _bultos_. George Kubler,
distinguished art historian at Yale, suggests that _bultos_, because
of their greater dimensional realism, are more popular than planar
_retablos_ with the _Hispanos_.[62] Supporting this theory is the fact
that _bultos_ in the Abiquiú _moradas_ outnumber prints and _retablos_
two to one.

Perhaps the most distinctive three-dimensional image in any _morada_
is not a _santo_ by definition, but a unique figure that represents
death (_la muerte_). Also known as _La Doña Sebastiana_, her image
clearly marks a building as a _penitente_ sanctuary. Personifying
death with a sculptured image and dragging her cart to a cemetery
called _calvario_, the _penitentes_ of New Mexico reflect the sense of
fate common to Spanish-speaking cultures, the recognition that death
is life's one personal certainty.[63] The figure of death in the east
_morada_ hangs in the corner at the rear of the oratory. Placed
outside for examination, this _muerte_ (Figure 32) presents a flat,
oval face with blank eyes. The black gown and bow and arrow are
typical of _muerte_ figures.[64] Turning toward the altar (Figure 11),
one sees that death is outnumbered by images of hope and compassion:
Jesus, His mother, and the saints who intercede for man.

[Illustration: FIGURE 32. DEATH (_la muerte_). SIZE: 76.2 centimeters
high. DATE: Early 20th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified
_santero_. LOCATION: East _morada_, back of oratory. MANUFACTURE:
Carved and whitewashed wood, glass eyes and wood teeth, dressed in
black fabric with white lace border, bow and arrow.]

On the lower step of the altar appear a host of small, commercial
products, mostly crucifixes, in plaster, plastic, and cheap metal
alloys as well as numerous glass cups for candles. Above the upper
ledge (_gradin_) appear five locally made images of Jesus crucified,
_El Cristo_.[65] At the side of this central _Cristo_ (Figure 33)
hangs a small angel, _angelito_, which traditionally held a chalice to
catch blood from the spear wound. Other _Cristos_, at the Taylor
Museum in Colorado Springs and at the Museum of New Mexico (McCormick
Collection A.7.49-24) in Santa Fe, repeat the weightless corpus and
stylized wounds used by the anonymous _santero_ who, after 1850, made
these _bultos_.

[Illustration: FIGURE 33. CRUCIFIX WITH ANGEL (_Cristo_ and
_angelito_). SIZE: cross 139.7 centimeters high. DATE: Fourth quarter
of 19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION:
East _morada_, center of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood gessoed and
painted, over-painted in oil; crown of thorns, rosaries, crucifix;
wooden plank, H-shape platform; black cross with _iNRi_ plaque;
_angelito_ with white cotton skirt.]

Additional _Cristo_ figures appear on the convergent walls of the east
_morada_ sanctuary. There are two pairs, large and small, perhaps
dating as late as 1900, one pair to the right (Figures 34, 35), the
other, on the Gospel side (plates 36, 37).

[Illustration: FIGURE 34. CRUCIFIX (_Cristo_). SIZE: cross 170.2
centimeters high. DATE: Second half of 19th century. ORIGIN: New
Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: East _morada_, right wall
behind altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and painted,
over-painted in oils; black gauze shroud over head; rosary and _iNRi_

[Illustration: FIGURE 35. CRUCIFIX (_Cristo_). SIZE: cross 64.8
centimeters high. DATE: Second half of 19th century. ORIGIN: New
Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: East _morada_, right wall
behind altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and painted; dressed
in white skirt with rosary.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 36. CRUCIFIX (_Cristo_). SIZE: cross 71.1
centimeters high. DATE: Second half of 19th century. ORIGIN: New
Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: East _morada_, left wall
behind altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and painted, repainted
in oil colors, yellow and red strips on black; dressed in white cotton
skirt; rosary.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 37. CRUCIFIX (_Cristo_). SIZE: cross 177.8
centimeters high. DATE: Fourth quarter of 19th century. ORIGIN: New
Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: East _morada_, left wall
behind altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and painted; crown of
thorns and rosary; dressed in white cotton waist cloth.]

To the far left stands an important image: the scourged Jesus (Figure
38) prominent in _penitente_ activity as "Our Father Jesus the
Nazarene" (_Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno_). By 1918, Alice Corbin
Henderson[66] reports, this same figure appeared in _penitente_ Holy
Week processions at Abiquiú. She claims it was made originally for the
Mission of Santo Tomás. E. Boyd points out stylistic traits shared by
this Abiquiú _bulto_ and the _retablo_ figures in the San José de
Chama Chapel at nearby Hernández, which was the work of _santero_
Rafael Aragon, active from 1829 to after 1855.[67] Symbolic of man's
physical suffering, the image of the _Jesus Nazareno_ is essential to
_penitente_ enactments of the Passion.

[Illustration: FIGURE 38. MAN OF SORROWS (_Ecce Homo, Nuestro Padre
Jesus Nazareno_). SIZE: 1.60 meters high. DATE: Second quarter of 19th
century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, Rafael Aragon, active 1829-55. LOCATION:
East _morada_, to left of altar. MANUFACTURE: Dressed in red fabric
gown, palm clusters and rosaries, leather crown of thorns, horsehair
wig, bright border painted on platform.]

On the left side of the east _morada_ altar, two carved images
represent the grieving mother of Jesus as "Our Lady of Sorrows"
(_Nuestra Señora de los Dolores_), one image (Figure 39) in pink
equipped with her attribute, a dagger; the other (Figure 40), like
many processional figures, has been constructed by draping a pyramidal
frame of four sticks with gesso-dipped cloth, which, when dry, is
painted to represent a skirt. The apron-like design that appears on
the skirt, now hidden under a black dress, indicates that the original
identity probably was "Our Lady of Solitude" (_Nuestra Señora de la

[Illustration: FIGURE 39. OUR LADY OF SORROWS (_Nuestra Señora de los
Dolores_). SIZE: 99.1 centimeters base to crown. DATE: Early 20th
century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: East
_morada_, left side of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and
painted; dressed in pink cotton gown and veil; tin crown and metal
dagger; artificial flowers, rosaries.]

Señora de los Dolores_ or _la Soledad_). SIZE: 81.3 centimeters base
to crown. DATE: Second half of 19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico,
unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: East _morada_, left side of altar.
MANUFACTURE: Carved wood head and hands, gessoed, painted, and
repainted; body of gesso-wetted cloth, draped on stick frame to dry,
painted; dressed in black satin habit with white lace border; tin
halo, rosary, artificial flowers.]

Also on the left side of the east _morada_ altar, there are two male
saints (_santos_) who fill vital roles in the _penitente_ Easter
drama. One, St. Peter (San Pedro) with the cock (Figure 41), is a
_bulto_ whose frame construction duplicates that of Our Lady (Figure
40). The cock apparently was made by another hand, and, despite its
replaced tail, is a fine expression of local art. This group
represents Peter's triple denial of Jesus before the cock announced
dawn of the day of the Crucifixion. The _bulto_ of San Pedro has
special meaning for _penitentes_ who, through their penance, bear
witness to "Jesus the Nazarene."

[Illustration: FIGURE 41. SAINT PETER AND COCK (_San Pedro_ and
_Gallo_). SIZE: 61 centimeters high. DATE: First quarter of 19th
century, and 19th century cock. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified
_santero_. LOCATION: East _morada_, left side of altar. MANUFACTURE:
St. Peter's head (later): carved wood, gessoed and painted. Body:
cloth dipped in wet gesso, draped over stick frame to dry, and
painted, later over-painted. Blue gown and orange cape. Cock of carved
wood, gessoed and painted; orange body with green haunch. Carved wood
tail, replacement.]

With the other _bulto_, _penitentes_ have also recalled the
crucifixion by representing St. John the Evangelist (San Juan) at the
foot of the cross, where Jesus charged the disciple with the care of
His mother. The image of John (Figure 42) bears distinctive stylistic
features: blunt fingers; protruding forehead, cheek bones, and chin;
and a full-lipped, open mouth.

[Illustration: FIGURE 42. SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST (_San Juan_).
SIZE: 137.2 centimeters high. DATE: Second half of 19th century.
ORIGIN: New Mexico, "Abiquiú _morada_" _santero_. LOCATION: East
_morada_, left side of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and
painted; black horsehair wig; dressed in white cotton fabric; palm
clusters and rosary.]

Since these stylistic traits also occur in a _Cristo_ figure in the
Taylor Museum collection[69] and in two other _bultos_--a _Cristo_ and
_Jesus Nazareno_ in the south _morada_ at Abiquiú--it seems reasonable
to designate the anonymous image-maker as the "Abiquiú _morada

A _bulto_ that Alice Henderson identifies as St. Joseph is probably
this figure of St. John (Figure 42) now resting in the east _morada_.
She has reported that this image and that of St. Peter were in the
mission of Santo Tomás before 1919.[70] The shift in residence for
these _santos_ was substantiated by José Espinosa, who stated that
several images "were removed to one of the local _moradas_ ... when
the old church was torn down."[71]

On the right side of the east _morada_ altar, images of two male
saints reflect the intense affection felt by _penitentes_ for the
Franciscan saints Anthony of Padua and John of Nepomuk. The most
popular New Mexican saint, San Antonio (Figure 43), customarily
carries the young Jesus, _El Santo Niño_. This image has been painted
dark blue to represent the traditional Franciscan habit of New Mexico
before the 1890s.[72]

(_San Antonio y Niño_). SIZE: 43.2 centimeters high. DATE: First half
of 19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION:
East _morada_, right side of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed
and painted with repainted head; dark blue habit; dressed in light
blue cotton fabric with white border, artificial flowers.]

The 14th-century saint, John of Nepomuk, Bohemia (Figure 44), is known
from a legend that states he was killed by King Wenceslaus for
refusing to reveal secrets of the Queen, for whom he was confessor.
The story notes that, after torture, John was drowned in the Moldau
River, but that his body floated all night and, in the morning, was
taken to the Church of the Holy Cross of the Penitents in Prague.
After the martyred chaplain was canonized in 1729, his cult spread to
Rome, then Spain, and, by 1800, into New Mexico.

[Illustration: FIGURE 44. SAINT JOHN OF NEPOMUK (_San Juan
Nepomuceno_). SIZE: base to hat 78.7 centimeters. DATE: Second quarter
of 19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION:
East _morada_, right side of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed
and painted; dark blue robe with white border; dressed in black hat
and robe under white alblike coat; rosary.]

Among the _Hispanos_, local Franciscans promoted this cult of St. John
as a prognosticator and as a respecter of secrecy.[73] Due in part to
this promotion, _San Juan Nepomuceno_ became a favorite of New Mexican
_penitentes_. E. Boyd suggests that the image of St. John (Figure 44)
may have first represented St. Francis or St. Joseph. She also notes a
stylistically similar _bulto_ of St. Joseph in Colorado Springs,
manufactured not long after 1825.[74]

ORATORY IN SOUTH MORADA.--Turning to the south _morada_ chapel, we
find numerous parallels to the earlier east _morada_ in _santo_
identities and in religious artifacts. (Figure 10 presents a
previously unphotographed view of this active _penitente_ chapel with
its fully equipped altar.) The walls of the west chamber of the south
_morada_ are lined with benches over which hang religious prints in
frames of commercial plaster and local tin work (Figure 45).

[Illustration: FIGURE 45. SAINT JOSEPH AND CHRIST CHILD (_San José y
el Santo Niño_). SIZE: frame 45.7 centimeters high. DATE: Fourth
quarter of 19th century. ORIGIN: Imported commercial products.
LOCATION: South _morada_, chapel wall. MANUFACTURE: Plaster frame,
molded and gilded. Chromo-lithograph on paper. SAINT PETER (_San
Pedro_). SIZE: frame 25.4 centimeters high. DATE: Third quarter of
19th century. ORIGIN: Imported, commercially made print. New Mexico,
unidentified tinsmith. LOCATION: South _morada_, chapel wall.
MANUFACTURE: Tin frame: cut, repoussé, stamped, and soldered.
Chromo-lithograph on paper.]

The tin frame for a lithograph of St. Peter reveals repoussé designs
found on east _morada_ frames (Figure 30, center). Other examples of
local tinwork are seen in Figure 46. On the right is a cross of
punched tinwork with pomegranate ends and corner fillers that reflect
Moorish characteristics in Spanish arts known as _mudéjar_. The frame
dates from after 1850, as indicated by glass panes painted with floral
patterns suggesting Victorian wallpaper. To the left is a niche made
of six glass panels painted with wavy lines and an early 19th-century
woodcut of the Holy Child of Atocha. Here again, twisted half-columns
repeat a motif seen on a tin frame in the east _morada_ chapel. In
front of the draped entry to the south _morada_ sanctuary stand two
candelabra, one of which is shown in the doorway to the oratory
(Figure 47) with tin reflectors and hand-carved sockets.[75] There are
also vigil light boxes, kerosene lanterns with varnished tin shades,
commercial religious images and ornaments that are similar to items in
the east _morada_ sanctuary.

and _Santo Niño de Atocha_). SIZE: 35.5 centimeters high. DATE: Second
half of 19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified tinsmith.
LOCATION: South _morada_, chapel walls. MANUFACTURE: Tin frame: cut,
repoussé, and soldered. Glass: cut and painted. Woodcut on paper.
CROSS (_cruz_). SIZE: 43.2 centimeters high. DATE: Fourth quarter of
19th century. ORIGINS: New Mexico, unidentified tinsmith. LOCATION:
South _morada_, chapel walls. MANUFACTURE: Tin frame: cut, repoussé,
and soldered. Glass: cut and painted.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 47. CANDELABRUM (_candelabro_). SIZE: 157.5
centimeters high. DATE: Early 20th century. LOCATION: South _morada_,
in front of altar in oratory. MANUFACTURE: Mill-cut wood stand,
hand-carved pegs to hold candles, and hand-worked tin crosses. Painted
white. One of a pair.]

Embroidered textiles portray the Last Supper, and a chapter banner,
made up for the brotherhood after 1925, shows the Crucifixion in oil
colors. This banner bears the words "Fraternidad Piadosa D[e]
N[uestro] P[adre] J[esus] D[e] Nazareno, Sección No. 12, Abiquiú, New
Mexico." The title _fraternidad_ is that assumed by _penitente_
chapters that incorporated in New Mexico around 1930, although the
term _cofradía_ often appears in transfers of private land to
_penitente_ organizations.[76] A second banner, this one on the left,
reads "Sociedad de la Sagrada Familia," which is a Catholic women's
organization that often supports _penitente_ groups.

In the oratory of the south _morada_, locally made images merit
special notice. Two carved images flank the entry to the south
_morada_ sanctuary. The _bulto_ on the right, St. Francis of Assisi
(Figure 48), has a special significance. As we noted in the east
_morada_, many Spanish settlers in New Mexico honored San Francisco as
the founder of the Franciscans, the order whose missionaries long had
served the region. The second _bulto_ (Figure 49) reveals clues that
it originally had been a representation of the Immaculate Conception
(_Inmaculata Concepción_). In Abiquiú, however, this figure is called
_la mujer de San Juan_ ("the woman of St. John"), a phrase that
indicates the major role Mary holds for the _penitentes_. With this
image they refer to the moment in the Crucifixion when Jesus committed
the care of His mother to St. John. As introductions to the south
_morada_ chancel, St. Francis and the Marian image are excellent
specimens of pre-1850 _santero_ craftsmanship.

[Illustration: FIGURE 48. SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI (_San Francisco_).
SIZE: 53.3 centimeters high. DATE: First half of 19th century. ORIGIN:
New Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: South _morada_, right
wall of chapel. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and painted; blue
habit with brown collar; wood cross and skull, tin halo; rosary beads
with fish pendants.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 49. THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (_la mujer de San
Juan_ [local name]). SIZE: 55.9 centimeters high. DATE: First half of
19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION:
South _morada_, left wall of chapel. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed
and painted; oil colors over earlier tempera; red gown and crown; blue
cape and base.]

Two more images of Mary occur on the altar of the south _morada_
sanctuary. The first (Figure 50) takes its proper ecclesiastic
position on the Gospel side, to the viewer's left of the crucifix. The
second "Marian" image (Figure 51) is less orthodox. Not only does
this _bulto_ stand on the Epistle side of the crucifix but, like the
Marian advocation cited above as _la mujer de San Juan_, this figure's
identity has been changed to suit local taste. _Penitentes_ at Abiquiú
refer to the image as Santa Rosa, the traditional patroness of the
area following its first settlement by Spaniards.

[Illustration: FIGURE 50. OUR LADY OF SORROWS (_Nuestra Señora de los
Dolores_). SIZE: 104.1 centimeters high. DATE: Third quarter of 19th
century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: South
_morada_, left side of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and
painted; dressed in pink satin; artificial flowers, tin crown.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 51. VIRGIN AND CHILD OR SAINT RITA (_Santa Rosa
de Lima_ [local name]). SIZE: 68 centimeters high. DATE: Fourth
quarter of 19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified _santero_.
LOCATION: South _morada_, right side of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved
wood, gessoed and painted; dressed in pink satin; cross of turned
wood; artificial flowers, shell crown.]

Between these Marian images there are two large _bultos_ that are
examples of the work of the "Abiquiú _morada santero_" suggested
earlier. Both are figures of Jesus. The first, a _Cristo_ (Figure 52),
is the central crucifix on the altar. As in the east _morada_, the
focal image is accompanied by an _angelito_, this time with tin
wings.[77] To the right stands the other image of Jesus, the Nazarene,
_Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno_ (Figure 53). Along with the nearby
crucifix (Figure 52) and the figure of St. John the Evangelist (Figure
42) in the east _morada_, this representation of the scourged Jesus
reflects the style of the "Abiquiú _morada santero_." This Nazarene
_bulto_ embodies the _penitente_ concept of Jesus as a Man of
suffering Who must be followed.

[Illustration: FIGURE 52. CRUCIFIX WITH ANGEL (_Cristo_ and
_angelito_). SIZE: Cross 144.8 centimeters high. DATE: Early 20th
century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, "Abiquiú _morada_" _santero_. LOCATION:
South _morada_, center of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and
painted; purple fabric, waist cloths; tin wings on _angelito_; black
cross with _iNRi_ plaque.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 53. MAN OF SORROWS (_Ecce Homo, Nuestro Padre
Jesus Nazareno_). SIZE: 122 centimeters high. DATE: Second half of
19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico, "Abiquiú _morada_" _santero_.
LOCATION: South _morada_, right side of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved
wood, gessoed and painted; black horsehair wig, crown of thorns;
purple fabric gown; palm clusters, rosaries.]

The special character of the _penitente_ brotherhood is demonstrated
also in the last two _bultos_ on the south _morada_ altar. The
prominent size and position of St. John of Nepomuk (Figure 54) on the
altar indicate again the importance given by the _penitentes_ to San
Juan as a keeper of secrets. The other figure is the south _morada_'s
personification of death (Figure 55), _la muerte_, here even more
gaunt than the image in the east _morada_. Probably made after 1900,
this figure demonstrates the persistent artistic and religious
heritage of _Hispano_ culture.

[Illustration: FIGURE 54. SAINT JOHN OF NEPOMUK (_San Juan
Nepomuceno_). SIZE: 90.2 centimeters high. DATE: Early 20th century.
ORIGIN: New Mexico, unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: South _morada_,
left side of altar. MANUFACTURE: Carved wood, gessoed and painted;
dressed in black gown and cap; white cotton cassock; artificial
flowers; horsehair wig.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 55. DEATH (_la muerte_). SIZE: 111.8 centimeters
high. DATE: Fourth quarter of 19th century. ORIGIN: New Mexico,
unidentified _santero_. LOCATION: South _morada_, left side of altar.
MANUFACTURE: Carved and whitewashed wood; glass eyes and bone teeth;
dressed in black fabric; rosary, bow and arrow.]

[53] Interviews with Abiquiú inhabitants: Delfino Garcia in summer
1963 and Agapita Lopez in fall 1966.

[54] Interviews with _penitente_ members at Abiquiú, summers of 1965
and 1967.

[55] JOSÉ ESPINOSA, _Saints in the Valley_ (Albuquerque, 1960), p. 75.

[56] DOMÍNGUEZ, _Missions_, p. 50 (ftn. 5), defines _varal_ and its
customary use.

[57] Ibid., pp. 107, 131 (ftn. 4), 167.

[58] Ibid., pp. 121-123.

[59] AASF, Loose Documents, Mission, 1680-1850, and Accounts, books
xxxxv and lxiv. Also in Wills and Hijuelas, State Records Center, and
in Twitchell documents, Land Management Bureau, both offices in Santa
Fe, New Mexico.

[60] WALTER HOUGH, _Collections of Heating and Lighting_ (Smithsonian
Inst. Bull. 141, Washington, D.C., 1928), pl. 28a, no. 3.

[61] STEPHEN BORHEGYI, _El Santuario de Chimayo_ (Santa Fe, 1956);
also E. BOYD, _Saints and Saint Makers_ (Santa Fe, 1946), pp. 126-132.

[62] GEORGE KUBLER, in _Santos: An Exhibition of the Religious Folk
Art of New Mexico with an Essay by George Kubler_ (Fort Worth, Tex.:
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, June 1964).

[63] A fuller discussion of the _penitente_ death cart and further
illustrations are found in MITCHELL A. WILDER and EDGAR BREITENBACH,
_Santos: The Religious Folk Art of New Mexico_ (Colorado Springs,
1943), pl. 30 and text. Relevant to this study is the death cart with
immobile wheels recorded by HENDERSON, p. 32 [see ftn. 64], as having
been used in processions before 1919. It is likely that this is the
same cart described above in the storage room of the east _morada_
(Figure 22); it is important because its measurements and construction
details are nearly identical to the death cart in the collections of
the Museum of New Mexico, reputed to have come from Abiquiú.

[64] ALICE CORBIN HENDERSON, _Brothers of Light_ (Chicago, 1962), p.
32, describes a _muerte_ figure: chalk-white face, obsidian eyes,
black outfit.

[65] E. BOYD, "Crucifix in Santero Art," _El Palacio_, vol. LX, no. 3
(March 1953), pp. 112-115, indicates the significance of this image

[66] HENDERSON, pp. 13 (red gown, blindfolded, flowing black hair), 26
(red gown, bound hands, made for mission), and 43-46 (tall, almost
life size, blindfolded, carried on small platform in procession from
lower [east] _morada_, horsehair rope).

[67] BOYD, in litt., Nov. 13, 1965.

[68] BOYD, loc. cit. Regarding construction, see E. BOYD, "New Mexican
Bultos with Hollow Skirts: How They Were Made," _El Palacio_, vol.
LVIII, no. 5 (May, 1951), pp. 145-148.

[69] WILDER and BREITENBACH, pls. 24, 25.

[70] HENDERSON, p. 26.

[71] JOSÉ ESPINOSA, op. cit., p. 75.

[72] DOMÍNGUEZ, _Missions_, p. 264 (ftn. 59). The brown robe worn by
Franciscans today is a late 19th-century innovation.

[73] BOYD, _Saints_, p. 133.

[74] BOYD, in litt., Nov. 13, 1965. For a comparative illustration of
St. Joseph, see WILDER and BREITENBACH, pl. 42.

[75] HENDERSON, p. 51, notes this pair of candelabra with the 13
sockets. Fifteen is the ecclesiastically correct number for _tenebrae_

[76] _Acts of Incorporation_, microfilm, Corporation Bureau, State
Capitol, Santa Fe; see also Land Records, _General Indirect Index_,
Rio Arriba County Court House, vols. I (1852-1912) and II (1912-1930).

[77] HENDERSON, p. 51, describes the _angelito_, in the dim light of
the _morada_ ceremony, as a "dove like a wasp." Another angel figure
was given me through Regino Salazar by one of the _penitente_ brothers
of Abiquiú. According to E. Boyd, it appears to be the work of José
Rafael Aragon, who worked in the Santa Cruz area after 1825.


The two Abiquiú _moradas_ are clearly parallel in their
architectural design (including the constricted chancels), in their
artifacts--especially _bulto_ identities such as Jesus (_Cristo_,
_Nazareno_, _Ecce Homo_, _Santo Niño de Atocha_), Mary (_Dolores_,
_Immaculata Concepción_, _Soledad_, _Guadalupe_), Saint John of
Nepomuk, Saint Peter, and death--and lastly, in the ceremonies held
in the buildings, which link rather than separate the _penitente_
movement and the common social values of _Hispano_ culture.

Edmonson uses six institutional values to define _Hispano_ culture.[78]
All six can be found in the _penitente_ brotherhood. "Paternalism" is
found in the relation of the members-at-large to the officers and of
all the _penitente_ brothers to _Nuestro Padre Jesus_, "Our Father
Jesus." "Familism" is reflected in the structure of the _penitente_
organization and especially in the extension of its social benefits to
the entire community. "Dramatism" is an essential ingredient of
_penitente_ ceremonies such as the _tinieblas_. "Personalism" is
revealed in the immediate and individual participation of all members
in _penitente_ activities. "Fatalism" is the focus of Holy Week and of
funerals and is personified by the _muerte_ figure in each _morada_.

Finally, Edmonson cited "traditionalism" as definitive of _Hispano_
culture, a characteristic that is clearly evident in the _penitente_
forms of shelter, ceremonies, and artifacts. These commonplace objects
and activities had been established at Abiquiú before and during the
period of _morada_ building and furnishing. Literary and pictorial
documents presented in this study of Abiquiú and the _penitente
moradas_ reveal that their physical structure, furnishings,
membership, and the brotherhood itself are related intimately to, and
drawn from, the traditional and persistent Hispanic culture of New

[78] EDMONDSON, p. 62.

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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.