Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Name of the Rose

A tattooed waif both voluptuous and vulnerable, Rose strode across the courtyard into open shade beneath the portal. Her eyes spoke plaintively and in muted tones.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fading Roses

Lest I get caught up in an unending flurry of historical vignettes, it’s time for a straight black and white “art” photograph that recalls why I make pictures in the first place.  Just because the subject is worth rendering artfully (hopefully.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mission On Two Rivers

Continuing our theme of Spanish colonial missions in New Mexico these are images of the magnificent La Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles de Porciuncula de Los Pecos mission at the Pecos Pueblo just east of Santa Fe. Brevity was not a distinguishing trait of our Spanish brethren.

The Cicuye people arrived in a valley rimmed by snow capped peaks at the confluence of the Pecos and Glorieta Rivers .  There they built two dozen mud and stone villages in the early 1100s.  By 1450 over 2,000 people lived in a five story high complex.  A vibrant economy developed as the Cicuye brokered a robust trade between the Indians of the Rio Grande and those of the buffalo plains to the east.
Pursuing a so-called vision quest in 1540, the conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado discovered the Cicuye Pueblo later named Pecos.  Unlike the Zuni whom he fought and vanquished the Cicuye welcomed the Spanish. Coronado was told of amazing riches to be found farther east in Kansas but found nothing but poor villages.  His Indian guide confessed that he had lured Coronado’s army to the plains to perish and he was strangled for his deceit. 

In 1598 after Don Juan Onate conquered the Pueblo tribes he assigned a friar to Pecos, the most powerful of New Mexico Pueblos.  Episodes of idol smashing and abuse bred understandable animosity until a seasoned missionary, Fray Andres Juarez, arrived from the south.  Juarez directed the construction of a monumental adobe church that was completed between 1621 and 1634.  It was the most imposing of New Mexico’s mission churches and its remains reflect that grandeur.

Still, seething resentments led to the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 when the Spanish were driven from northern New Mexico.  But the victory was short lived as Spain’s Diego de Vargas conquered the pueblos again just twelve years later.
By the 1780s disease and inter-tribal warfare had reduced its population to less than 300 and the last survivors had left for the Jemez Pueblo by 1838.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Salt Missions

The Salinas basin covers about 50 miles north to south and within it are the remains of three pueblos and Spanish churches built near them from 1598.  The Spanish conquest and domination was short lived as the entire area had been depopulated by 1670.  While the reasons for this exodus are debated, it was probably due to drought, famine and attacks from the Apaches to the east. The Tehuan people of the Salinas basin spoke the Tiwa language that was also spoken at the abandoned Pecos Pueblo east of Santa Fe and continues to be spoken in the Taos and Jemez Pueblos.  It is believed that the tribes of Pecos and Salinas migrated to Jemez and Taos.

The Salinas Pueblos and Salt Missions are named for the saline lakes in desert-like terrain nearby.  Human habitation here goes back 6,000 years and as many as 10,000 Ancestral Puebloans once bartered salt with the Rio Grande Indians for cotton products, squash and beans and with plains Indians for hides, flints and buffalo meat.

The three missions, Abo, Quarai and Gran Quivara are unlike any other New Mexico missions in that they were built with small flat stones much like the pueblos of northwest New Mexico notably Chaco Canyon.  This suggests trade or migratory connections between the regions.  And we do know that the ancestral Puebloans migrated in a counter clockwise direction from central New Mexico to northern New Mexico into southern Colorado and southern Utah before dipping south into Arizona and finally Mexico.  So the premise of Chacoan style architecture starting in the Salinas Pueblos is entirely plausible.
Chaco or Abo?  You be the judge.