Friday, September 12, 2008
Birds on the Altar at Santiago Atitlan
The Catholic church in Santiago Atitlan has a famous altar featuring traditional Mayan beliefs mixed with more traditional Catholic imagery (see Allen Christensen's book on this amazing altar, Art and Society in a Highland Maya Community). Above is a panel featuring a traditional Deer Dance (on the left), as well as the local saint Maximón (in the center).
This image of a Quetzal bearing the good word of the gospel comes from the front of the pulpit.
Perhaps most amazing is the navel of the universe, which is a hole in the floor in front of the altar, seen here covered and with two candles on top.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a good shot of the double-headed bird high up on the altarpiece (it was pretty dark in there), which represents a figure from a very old local story.
Posted by birdchaser at 10:15 AM