Church - Part 1
Navigation for San José:
The Church is a visual delight. Plan on spending awhile if you intend to see all the examples of mission-era art. The interior of the reconstructed Church appears much like it did during the years 1833-1840. As you look at the walls notice that they vary from 4 to 5 feet thick; typical of mission construction for both structural integrity and to provide thermal insulation. Note that the wood used in the reconstruction was given a hand-hewn look using an adze to take irregular pieces out of it. Now, on with the tour...
Below you should see a rotating panorama of the complete inside of the Mission Church. You should be able to click on the panorama to stop the rotation at any point and then drag the mouse left, right, up, or down to see any specific area. If you have a mouse wheel, it should be able to be used to zoom in and out. If one or more of these behaviors does not work click on the full screen icon (top right corner) and try the behavior again. If you are at full screen, press the ESCape key to have the panorama return to this page.
We'll start the tour of the Church with the main altar and two side altars.
The main altar and reredos behind are brilliantly colored. Various paintings and statues span a wide time period. Below is a full view of the altar and below that are close-up photos of various sections of the reredos. Note that the silver candle holders are actually wood that is painted silver.
Details - Top down and left to right
Altar Nearest the Entrance
The altar nearest to, and across from, the Church's rear entrance represents Martyrdom.
At the top of this altar is a painting of Mary with the infant Jesus; below that is a statue of the scourged Christ as he was presented by Pontius Pilate to the crowd. You'll note that this statue is clothed. This type of presentation was an old Spanish custom; the torso is only roughtly carved out and then adorned with clothing. This statue is believed to have survived the 1868 earthquake.
Under the statue of Christ are relics of Roman martyrs and a nail said to contain within its hollow center filings from a nail of the true cross.
Altar Closest to the Sanctuary
This altar features a polychrome statue of St. Bonaventure, circa 1808. This statue, like the Christ statue above, is believed to have survived the 1868 earthquake. It is topped by a dove representing the Holy Spirit and the tabernacle door is a 17th century piece that came from Guatemala.
That's a summary of the three altars in the main Church. There is considerably more art to see however...
To see the rest of the art, continue the tour of the Church...