The Orientation of Jesuit Churches in the Chiquitos Missions of Eastern Bolivia

Authors

  • Alejandro Gangui Universidad de Buenos Aires

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jsa.19631

Keywords:

archaeoastronomy, Chiquitos, Christian churches, orientations, Society of Jesus

Abstract

The Jesuit missions in South America were an important factor in the evangelisation of the continent during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. However, although the history and cultural aspects of the distinctive settlements that the missionaries created for indigenous peoples have been examined extensively, studies that address issues relating to archaeoastronomy have only recently begun to appear, primarily in relation to the orientation of churches built for Guaraní peoples in the Jesuit Province of Paraquaria (Province of Paraguay). The current paper continues and complements these studies of the region with the first archaeoastronomical study of the nearby Jesuit missions of Chiquitos in eastern Bolivia, focusing on measurements taken at the ten mission churches, interpreted within the context of the surrounding landscape and the characteristics of the villages where the churches are located. Our results show that in contrast to the churches of the Province of Paraquaria, where north–south meridian orientations predominate, half of the studied Chiquitan Jesuit churches show potential canonical orientations that seem to be aligned to solar phenomena, with three exhibiting precise equinoctial orientation. In this paper I propose reasons for these orientations, including the possible relevance of illumination effects on significant internal elements within the churches – effects that were generally sought in Baroque church architecture.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Aguirre Acha, J., 1933. La antigua Provincia de Chiquitos limítrofe de la Provincia del Paraguay. La Paz: Renacimiento.

Belmonte J. A., A. Tejera Gaspar, A. Perera Betancourt and R. Marrero, 2006. “On the Orientation of Pre-Islamic Temples of North Africa: A Reappraisal (New Data in Africa Proconsularis)”. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 6 (3): 77–85.

Borromeo, C., 1985 [1577]. Instrucciones de la fábrica y del ajuar eclesiásticos, translated and edited by B. Reyes Coria. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Charlevoix, P. F. J. [P. F.-X.] de, 1913. Historia del Paraguay, vol. 4, translated by P. Hernández Madrid: Librería General de Victoriano Suárez.

Charlevoix, P. F.-X. de, 1757. Histoire du Paraguay, vol. 4. Paris: Chez Desaint, David, Durand.

D’Orbigny, A., 1839–1845. Voyage dans l’Amérique méridionale, 9 vols. Paris: Chez Pitois-Levraul.

D’Orbigny, A., 1945. Viaje a la América Meridional, 4 vols. Buenos Aires: Futuro.

Esteban C., J. A. Belmonte, M. A. Perera Betancort, R. Marrero and J. J. Jiménez González, 2001. “Orientations of Pre-Islamic Temples in North-West Africa”. Archaeoastronomy: Supplement to Journal for the History of Astronomy 26: S65–S84. https://doi.org/10.1177/002182860103202604

Fernández, J. P., 1895 [1726]. Relación historial de las misiones de indios Chiquitos que en el Paraguay tienen los padres de la Compañía de Jesús, 2 vols. Madrid: Librería de Victoriano Suárez.

Furlong, G., 1953. José Cardiel y su Carta-Relación de 1747. Buenos Aires: Librería del Plata.

Gangui, A. and J. A. Belmonte, 2018. “Urban Planning in the First Unfortified Spanish Colonial Town: The Orientation of the Historic Churches of San Cristobal de La Laguna”. Journal of Skyscape Archaeology 4 (1): 6–25. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsa.34336

Gangui, A., A. C. González-García, M. A. Perera Betancort and J. A. Belmonte, 2016. “On the Orientation of the Historic Churches of Lanzarote: When Human Necessity Dominates over Canonical Prescriptions”. In The Materiality of the Sky: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual SEAC Conference 2014, edited by F. Silva, K. Malville, T. Lomsdalen and F. Ventura, 125–134. Ceredigion: University of Wales, Trinity Sant David, Sofia Centre Press.

Giménez Benítez, S., A. M. López, M. Gamboa and A. Mudrik, 2018. “Churches’ Orientations in the Jesuits’ Missions among Guarani People”. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 18 (4): 165–171.

González-García, A. C., 2015. “A Voyage of Christian Medieval Astronomy: Symbolic, Ritual and Political Orientation of Churches”. In SEAC 2011 Stars and Stones: Voyages in Archaeoastronomy and Cultural Astronomy, edited by F. Pimenta, N. Ribeiro, F. Silva, N. Campion and A. Joaquinito, 268–275. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 2720. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. https://doi.org/10.30861/9781407313733

Google Earth Pro v.7.3.3.7786 [online]. Accessed March 2020 https://www.google.com/intl/es/earth/

Grondona, J. E., 1942. “Descripción sinóptica de la provincia de Chiquitos (curiosidad bibliográfica)”. Revista de la Universidad Mayor Real y Pontificia de San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca 11 (27–28): 251–375.

Gutiérrez da Costa, R. and R. Gutiérrez Viñuales, 1995. “Territorio, urbanismo y arquitectura en Moxos y Chiquitos”. In Las misiones jesuíticas de Chiquitos, edited by P. Querejazu, 303–386. La Paz: Fundación Banco Hipotecario Nacional.

Heilbron, J. L., 1999. The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Hoffmann, W., 1979. Las misiones jesuíticas entre los chiquitanos. Buenos Aires: Fundación para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura.

Knogler, J. 1979 [1768]. “Relato sobre el pais y nación de los Chiquitos en las Indias Occidentales o América del sud y las misiones en su territorio. Redactado para un amigo”. Translated in Las misiones jesuíticas entre los chiquitanos, edited by W. Hoffmann, 121–185. Buenos Aires: Fundación para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura.

Kosowsky, M., 2017. HeyWhatsThat [online]. Accessed January 2020. http://www.heywhatsthat.com/

Limpias Ortiz, V. H., 2000. “Hans Roth Merz: el arquitecto de la selva”. Revista Fundación Cultural Banco Central de Bolivia 10: 7–13.

Limpias Ortiz, V. H., 2007. “Misión de Moxos”. Apuntes: revista de estudios sobre patrimonio cultural 20 (1): 70–91.

Martini, J. X., 1977. Las antiguas misiones jesuíticas de Moxos y Chiquitos. Posibilidades de su aprovechamiento turístico. Paris: Informe técnico, UNESCO [online]. Accessed May 2020. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000024379

McCluskey, S. C., 2015. “Orientation of Christian Churches”. In Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, edited by C. L. N. Ruggles, 1703–1710. New York: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6141-8_173

Molina Barbery, P., 1995 “Archivo fotográfico de Chiquitos; Homenaje y testimonio”. In Las misiones jesuíticas de Chiquitos, edited by P. Querejazu, 21–249. La Paz: Fundación Banco Hipotecario Nacional. https://doi.org/10.2307/26452328

Natural Resources Canada, 2015. Magnetic Declination Calculator [online]. Accessed January 2020. http://geomag.nrcan.gc.ca/calc/mdcal-en.php

Parejas Moreno, A., 1995. “Chiquitos: historia de una utopía”. In Las misiones jesuíticas de Chiquitos, edited by P. Querejazu, 253–302. La Paz: Fundación Banco Hipotecario Nacional.

Parejas Moreno, A. and V. Suárez Salas, 1992. Chiquitos. Historia de una utopía. Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Universidad Privada de Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Querejazu, P., ed., 1995. Las misiones jesuíticas de Chiquitos. La Paz: Fundación Banco Hipotecario Nacional.

Recopilación, 1998 [1691]. Recopilación de leyes de los reynos de las Indias, 3 vols, 4th edition. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales and Boletín Oficial del Estado [facsimile of Madrid: La Viuda de D. Joaquin Ibarra].

Roth, H., 1995. “Urbanismo y arquitectura en Chiquitos desde los testimonios materiales”. In Las misiones jesuíticas de Chiquitos, edited by P. Querejazu, 463–526. La Paz: Fundación Banco Hipotecario Nacional.

Ruiz Martínez-Cañavate, P., 2017. Reducciones jesuíticas del Paraguay: territorio y urbanismo. PhD diss., Universidad de Granada, Spain.

Schaefer, B. E., 1993. “Astronomy and the Limits of Vision”. Vistas in Astronomy 36 (4): 311–361. https://doi.org/10.1016/0083-6656(93)90113-x

Suárez Salas, V., 1995. “Chiquitos, una utopía construida”. In Las Misiones Jesuíticas de Chiquitos, edited by P. Querejazu, 405–461. La Paz: Fundación Banco Hipotecario Nacional.

Vila Beltrán de Heredia, S., 1987. “El plan regular de Eximenis y las Ordenanzas Reales de 1573”. In La Ciudad Iberoamericana, Acta del Seminario Buenos Aires 1985, 375–383. Madrid: CEHOPU.

Vilas-Estévez, B. and A. C. González-García, 2016. “Illumination Effects at the Cathedral of Saint James (Galicia): First Results”. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 16 (4): 465–471.

Published

2021-03-24

How to Cite

Gangui, A. (2021). The Orientation of Jesuit Churches in the Chiquitos Missions of Eastern Bolivia. Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, 6(2), 159–181. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsa.19631

Issue

Section

Research

Most read articles by the same author(s)