The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 262
Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly
Serra. The latter are customarily well maintained, but not always respectful of
their original design and condition, for this architecture is of an "incremental"
sort: repaired, restructured, revamped. Nevertheless, it recalls its humble be-
ginnings, when women and children often made the adobe. Correspondingly,
the book moves from the beginnings of this architecture, In New Mexico and
Arizona, then to Texas, and finally to California, the last frontier for Spanish
expansion in the New World.
The color photographs are the strong point in this volume, though even this
fan of strong black-and-white wonders what might be the reason for the inser-
tion of several images in gray. Douglas Kent Hall demonstrates time and again
his knack for photographing these churches within their natural context:
adobe shaped by human hands against a heavenly blue sky, for example. The
texts, on the other hand, are sufficient, but probably not so for the anthropolo-
gist, the historian of art, or the social historian. As a general rule, they are texts
replete with curious anecdotes, but out of line with more serious historiogra-
phy. This history is not speculative, rather basic. But it Is a good mixture of
detail and legend, the factual and the imaginary. We get, for example, a list of
wardrobe items for Ofiate's men and of building tools that the Spanish king
supplied to the Franciscans, alongside many tales of miracles and legends in-
volved in the establishment of these shrines and missions. Burnt-sienna maps,
reminiscent of old, are helpful visual guides for us to follow this excursion, ei-
ther through this book or ill fact.
The author treats at length the Father Kino (died 17 1) churches. His selec-
tion of eight churches in Texas involves no fewer than five in San Antonio-
and we thank our lucky stars that the Alamo (San Antonio de Valero) is not
once again photographed head-on. It would appear that California is the locale
that has preserved the greatest number of' these shrines, or which has most
revamped them. We never tire of' seeing the abstract, simple lines of San Fran-
cisco de Asis de las Trampas de Ranchos de Taos, the most sketched, photo-
graphed and painted of these monuments, and this obliges us to speculate on
the relative architectural merits of desert adobe versus Spanish baroque. In this
regard, San Agustin de la Isleta (near Albuquerque) is another treat.
Douglas Kent Hall rightly has insisted on the Moorish elements that, logi-
cally, crept into the construction of some of these monuments: San Xavier del
Bac (Tucson) and San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (Carmel), for example.
And it is a great pleasure to find here detailed reproductions of church inte-
riors, so splendid in their naif paintings and sculptures.
Texas, which occupies a sixth of these pages, constitutes a curious stylistic
comparison to New Mexico, AriLona, and California, and, from a Texan's view-
point, this book holds interest if only for this reason.
Unive szly of Texas at AuIlin LEE FONTANELLA
San Antonio, Teas, en la e5poca colonial (i 718-182 r). By Maria Esther Domin-
guez. (Madrid: Ediciones de Cultura Hlspainica, 1989. Pp. 325. Introduc-
tion, maps, illustrations, tables, conclusion, appendices, bibliography.)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/308/ocr/: accessed July 24, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.