San Diego del Pitiquito

I was lucky enough to go on my first visit to the Sonora missions this past spring 2016. It was a short 3-day trip through the Southwestern Mission Research Center, and was the second trip the group led since it re-started tours to Spanish missions in northern Sonora. Concerns about border violence briefly paused the visits.

San Diego de Pitiquito was built in the 1770s by O’odham artisans, and the paintings were likely finished around that time. Below are a few photos of the original painted decorations, which are helpful reminder that missions were often brightly colored. Local history has it that the walls were plastered a plain white in the 20th century and the paintings were re-discovered by accident. There’s a whole story about that.

Here are images of the celestial decoration above the sanctuary, the Queen of Heaven, and an enormous skeleton. You can also see a rooster and the ox representative of St. Luke. Both of these animals were introduced as a result of contact with Europeans that was initiated in Pitiquito in 1694. By the time the church was built, these animals had been around for almost 100 years.

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