Mexican Mannerism?
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Huejotzingo Contracts
Teposcolula Retablo
Andres de Concha


  The Contracts

for the construction of the

Retablo at Huejotzingo.


Huejotzingo_Retablo.JPG (48723 bytes)

All Images � James B. Kiracofe


 [For more images of the Retablo and Convento, see below]

     Translated from the Spanish Versions Presented by H. Berlin

      "The High Alter of Huejotzingo

The Americas

  Volume XV, July 1958

    Contract I

 In the city of Huejotzingo of New Spain on the 4th day of the month of February of 1584, before the illustrious Senor Bernaldino Alvarez, high judge for His Majesty of this said city and its province, and before me, Pedro de Carvajal, scribe of said tribunal and sworn before God according to law, there appeared present Don Pablo de Mendoza, governor of this city, Don Diego Juarez and Diego Perez and Alonzo Ortiz and Cristobal de Paredes, magistrates of it, Melchor de Valencia and Dionisio Rodriguez, [etc.] ...the which all together, governor, magistrates, councilmen and the rest of the principal Indians and natives of this said city, spoke language mediated by Gaspar Lopez de Solis, interpreter and negotiator for this negotiation named and sworn before God according to law for the said effect, they affirmed all together and of one accord and conformity and in the name of the rest of the principal Indians of this city and its jurisdiction, lending by him they lend voice and pledge freely and truly, that whereas many of them have agreed, and are agreed that in the church and monastery of this city they would like to make a retablo and shrine, according to Christian forms as they should and are obliged to observe and make for the honor and glory of Our Lord and advancement of the Christian souls, and because they are agreed with Simon Perinez, a person who knows how to make it and has it as his trade and is a master of said art, it is necessary to them that the lord judge give and concede license and powers in order that all together, as their names are here written, they may be obliged thus for this as for the rest for whom they lend the said voice and pledge declared by the said agreement, and in the document which thus they grant for the said purpose of the said retablo and agreement they ask his favor of the said license and ask for justice. And for the lord judge considering their petition, that which they ask to make is legitimate and is in favor of the republic and to understand that for it they will not lay down additional taxes nor superfluous charges nor other disorderly charges, that in the name of Royal Justice he concedes to them and gives the said license according to the manner that they asked for it, with the charge that they neither lay nor meddle in laying additional taxes among the maseguales nor poor indians of this city, and in the document that thus they declare  with the requisites of the law in it he was putting in it and did put in it all his authority and judicial decree as much as he was able and had place of law, and thus he said and signed his name to.

 By means of that which the said license and using of it the above mentioned governor, magistrates, councilmen and the rest of the principal Indians and natives, in the presence of the said judge and by means of the said interpreter, approved and in the name of the rest of the principal Indians and natives of this said city, under the said voice and pledge freely and truly, that they obliged themselves and would oblige themselves to give and indeed pay and that they will pay and will deliver to said Simon Perinez, master who for them has to make and place the said retablo, the things and moneys and pesos of gold that are to be used and conditions go declared, that is the following:

Firstly the above mentioned oblige themselves to give him during the time of the work of said retablo by said master Simon Perinez three painters and who will not quit during the said time for grinding the gesso and the rest that he tells them to do concerning the said work.


Likewise the above mentioned oblige themselves to give him three carpenters who ordinarily function in the said work and they not to withdraw until they are completely finished, and this at the cost of the city.


Likewise is the condition that the above mentioned have to give him during all the time of duration of said work of the said retablo each day two Indian corn grinder women who will make tortillas and food that will be needed, and this at the cost of them and of the city.


Likewise is the condition that the above mentioned have to give each week of the duration of the said work four Indians of service, two [pilapisques ?] and two [tequichuques] and this not to be lacking during the said period and at the cost of the city.

Likewise is the condition that the above mentioned have to give each day of the duration of the said work one measure of grass for his horses of that which they give to the chief magistrates, and this not to be lacking during the said period and at the cost of the city.


Likewise they oblige themselves to give him each day of the said time one load of firewood of the Indians, and this to not be lacking and at the cost of the city.


And also they oblige themselves to give him each week of the said time one load of charcoal of the Indians for the said work and this not to be lacking during the said time of the said retablo and at the cost of the city.


Likewise is the condition that the above mentioned oblige themselves to give him 100 fanegas of corn in this manner: 50 fanegas the above mentioned oblige themselves to give him 25 fanegas of this harvest of this year of the date of this letter and the other 25 fanegas remaining of the said 50 fanegas for the coming harvest of Pascua de Navidad of this present year in which we are and of the date of this; as for the other 50 fanegas of corn it is clarification that the said Simon Perinez has to be given them and he has to collect them from the father guardian of the convento of this city, because thus it is agreed among all, and in this manner the said obliged ones contained in this letter will oblige themselves to observe and comply with the contents without failing in any single thing.


And likewise they formally obligate themselves to give him and to pay 6000 Pesos de oro comun, of value each Peso of 8 Reales of silver of good money. And likewise they give him the the shrine that at the present is positioned in the high alter of this city and church of it, because it is his of the said Simon Perinez, the which is given for delivery to him, because with the said shrine, that is valued at 1000 Pesos,  all totaling with the 6000 Pesos 7000 Pesos of the said oro comun, the which 6000 Pesos and with the said shrine 7000, they obligate themselves to give and pay in this manner: the thousand Pesos of the said shrine the said Simon Perinez receives afterwards and another thousand of Pesos then in Reales, of those which then he has to give a letter of payment of the said receipt. As for the management of that which remains in order to comply with the said seven thousand Pesos with the said shrine five thousand Pesos, the which they have to pay in this manner: another thousand Pesos de oro comun, from the date of this letter in the first 9 full months following. As for the management of the four thousand Pesos of the said oro comun which will remain, the said four thousand Pesos remaining to be complied with to the said payment of the said agreement must be paid within three and a half years from the date of this letter henceforth until completed, with the condition and manner that from the said end of the said three and a half years they must go replying with all the money that they will be able to the said Simon Perinez, now be it 200 Pesos, now be it more, now be it less, so that before the said time be paid  of the Pesos of gold completely.  And this by reason that the said master Simon Perinez, makes for them a retablo according to and of the size, height and width named each member agreed, as will go declared in the statement; and likewise he must make a shrine, half size free standing such as that which is in Otucpa and retablo and everything; and the said retablo must meet all the conditions following and names of saints according to and as the father guardian and the Indian natives will wish, with the charge that all of the area of the middle of the said retablo must be all of statues: primarily the shrine and on top of the shrine to San Miguel and the other two pieces that remain from above to be of statues and saints which they told him to place. And likewise the God the Father must be half size. And likewise the said retablo must meet the things that are declared:


Firstly it must have a high bank with its frieze and molding and architrave; it must be three and a half feet tall and it must have worked friezes of the said bank 12 apostles of half size conforming to those of Otocpa. On top of this bank come 6 columns and 6 pilasters of a height of 9 feet and the columns themselves of a height of the said 9 feet; and of stoutness they must be one foot and a quarter at the plinth; the 4 banks which come above the columns at two and a half feet each bank. There are a total of 22 columns, and 22 pilasters. The 6 columns below the first body must be worked the lower third of their height and that each column has 3 boys placed hand in hand, and it must be fluted all the rest of the way up, except joined over the capital must be worked a serafin with its bread and fruits and garlands. And all the other 16 columns must be balustrated, worked with carving from top to bottom, in parts where they need it and as is usual and customary in parts where they are worked. All the friezes of the banks must be covered with carving of serafins, shields, breads and fruits.


The central portion must have a width of 8 feet the quirk where must come the figures of sculpture must be of a width of 2 feet and a half and a quarter. There are 6 panels, they must be 5 feet and a half and a quarter wide; it is understood that each panel must be 9 feet tall and likewise all the quirks, because  each section (calle) must be 9 feet tall. The whole retablo has to reach to the same vault 56 feet to the point of the frontispiece. Likewise it must have the high body above to the sides some finials worked at half height in order that the said retablo should become finished off in conformity with a good work. The said retablo must have a dust cover that will come from the fourth bank to the first bank from decorated (labrado) top to bottom of half size.


And these conditions and manners that are declared go to oblige the said Simon Perinez to make the said retablo and give it completed and placed in the said high alter of this city, [in the] church of it without lacking anything of these declarations and contents, responding to the said governor and magistrates and councilmen and other obliged ones obliging that which is commanded. And in this manner the said Simon Perinez, master, obliged himself to give them finished and installed the said retablo with the conditions declared in order that from the last day of Pascua de Flores that will come this year in the first complete year and a half following without lacking any thing of it.


And for security and affirmation and that the said Simon Perienez will comply with the contents given by his guarantor Andres de Sesena, citizen of this city, the which was present said that he was guaranteeing and did guaranty the said Simon Perinez, master, in such manner that he as such guarantor and principal treasury payor as made of his own household debt he will comply to that which is contained in this letter, to which the said master Simon Perinez will comply with that which he is obliged to make of the said retablo and by the said time made clear and if not the said governor and magistrates and councilmen and the rest of the principals at the cost of the said Andres de Sesena as such guarantor and principal payor and of the said Simon Perinez will seek another such master that would finish and would make the said retablo, that thus would be installed as in this statement and with the conditions referred to, and that that which thus would cost them to make the above mentioned would be able to press them to pay for it for them and for the Pesos de oro that thus the said retablo would cost. And for greater security of it and of each single thing and part of it, each one of them in his turn, obligate themselves with their person and goods, furniture and real estate, past, present and future, and to have and by this letter gave and granted entire power sufficient completely to all and any judges, justices of His Majesty of any part that may be, renouncing as they renounced their own right and jurisdiction, home and citizenship and the law would (sit ?) concur of jurisdiction in order that the said justices and any of them by the most brief remedy and urgent way to compel them and press them to compliance and pay that which is said, as sentence passed as a legal entity, in guarding of that which they might renounce any laws, privileges and rights that be in their favor in which it says that general renunciation of laws date not valid and they grant this letter of obligation in form thus the said Andres de Sesna, guarantor, as the said Simon Perinez and the said governor and magistrates and councilmen and the rest of the principals and natives of this city signed to it their names those who could and for those who could not sign it for them witnessed this letter. And the judge put into it his authority and judicial decree as much as he was able and had place of law for that value and would be sufficient proof in law and his jurisdiction, where he would wish that right presented, and thus he said and signed his name, being present for witness Alonso Ortiz de Gamboa and Francisco de Figueroa and Pedro Sanchez Spanish citizens and landowners in this city.



Bernaldino Alvarez        Simon Perinez     Andres de Sesena


[Many more signatures follow]



It is a condition that the painting of all the retablo must be by the hands of the said Simon Perinez and Andres de Concha and not by any others even though they might wish it, because with this agreement and manner they agree in the said price and amount of said Pesos de oro comun and they sign it. The said witnesses are content in this document.

   I certify that it passed before me:

  Pedro de Caravajal

Scribe, sworn.


  Contract II

Know as many as would see this letter that I Pedro de Requena, citizen of the city of Mexico of New Spain, grant and know by this letter that I am agreed and in concert with Simon Perines, painter that is present, to help him and make some figures and images for the retablo that will be delivered to the church of this said city, the which must be formed and carved of a certain size and measurement and the price and of the form following:


Firstly for 15 figures of sculpture for the quirks of said retablo they have to give to me and pay 55 pesos for each one made, and each figure of the quirks must have six feet and four fingers of height, and that within this amount of height the pedestal of each one of them, and the San Miguel must have 4 fingers more than height said and must not have a demon at his feet.


Likewise must be made the story of the Lord St. Francis, that must be more than half relief, of how he received the wounds, with his companion and the angel and their cords (?), and the size of the figure must be a little larger than those of the quirks, and they must pay me for this story 110 Pesos.


Likewise for the 4 panels of the 12 apostles that must in like manner must fall beneath the quirks, and each panel must have 3 apostles of half figures and half height, they have to give me and pay for the making 160 pesos, and the said apostles must be of form that can be put after being made into a compartment around them, the which is the charge of the said Simon Perines, that must be of opened form.


Likewise must be obliged the said Simon Perines to give me a house to live in and to work, in which to work the said work and all the wood necessary for the said work.


Likewise furthermore the said Simon Perines must give me a [tlapizque], a carpenter and an indian woman to grind of those that the natives have to give him.


All the which said work, I the said Pedro de Requena have to begin to do by the end of the month of January of the year which comes of 585 in this city, under penalty of not being paid, the last past, the said Simon Perines can at my cost send for me and bring me from the part and place where I was to be found and compel me to it. And the pay for all the said figures must be in this manner: 200 Pesos de oro comun afterwards in Reales, and the rest remaining to me to be paid conforming as the said work would be completed, and in principle of pay the said Simon Perines has  given and paid me the said 200 Pesos de oro comun, for which I give myself as content and paid to my satisfaction, and by reason of taking possession of it, that at present does not appear, I renounced the exception of the enumerated money, laws of proof of payment as in these is contained, and the said Simon Perines promised to receive the said work and to pay the said Pesos de oro at the prices as said and in the manner above declared simply according to the work that would be in them. And in order to comply each one of the parts, each one in his turn, they obliged their persons and goods, furniture and real estate past, present and future, and they gave power to the justices of His Majesty of any jurisdictions that may be, to the jurisdiction of the which they submit themselves and especially to that of this city and those of Mexico, court that in it resides, renouncing their domicile and the law (sit ?) convenerit de jurisdictione omnium judicum, in order that all rigor and executive way compel us to that which is said as by sentence passed in court of law and they renounced the laws of their defense and the general rights. Made Huejotzingo on 30 of November of 1584, being witness Hernan Garcia de Vargas and Antonio Ortiz and Alonso de Inclan, and the grants I certify that I know those who sign their names.

P. de Requena                                                                                    Simon Pereyns


Before me:


Cristobal Gutierrez




Contract III


In the city of Huejotzingo on the first day of June of the year 1585, before the illustrious Senor Juan de Sandoval, substitute chief magistrate for His Majesty in this city of Huejotzingo, for before me the scribe and witnesses legally written, appeared an Indian who by the tongue of Gabriel de Escobedo, interpreter of this jurisdiction, said he is called Marcos de San Pedro, native of the city of Mexico, of the neighborhood of Santa Maria Tequichaucan, and he said that for as much as he is by trade a gold leaf worker and wishes to record and agrees to service with Simon Perines, painter, to serve him for the time of two months and ten days, that must run from today said day, paid in this manner: 15 Pesos each month one tostone for each day and he will serve in the said capacity all of the said time. And he confessed  to have received 33 pesos and two tostones de oro comun for pay of his salary of the said time. And he is not going to absent himself from said service until it is completed, under pain that where he might be found, at his cost they may bring him [back] and compel him to comply with the said service. And the said Simon Perines accepted the said service and promised to not eject him until he be finished, under pain of paying of vacancy. Each one of the parts obligated their persons and goods, and gave power to the justices of His Majesty, and renounced the laws of their defense and signed it, the said senor substitute was present who put to it his authority and judicial decree to be valid and be sufficient proof in justice and his judgment, being present witness Alonso de Morales and Francisco de Carvajal and Antonio Ortiz, citizens of this city.




Juan de Sandoval          Gabriel de Escobar      Simon Pereyns



        Witness: Antonio Ortiz




Cristobal Gutierrez


Before me:


Notice: These images below are property of James B. Kiracofe and the Inter-American Institute and are protected by copyright law. They may be used for on-campus, non-commercial educational purposes, but they may not be reproduced or stored in any form of database without written permission. 

Huejotzingo_Retablo.JPG (48723 bytes)    Huejotzingo_Lower_Half_of_retablo.JPG (56795 bytes)    Huejotzingo Retablo left center high.jpg (1184894 bytes) This is zoomed

Huejotzingo Retablo upper left.jpg (117967 bytes)  Huejotzingo Retablo, upper left High.jpg (1146295 bytes) this is zoomed    Huejotzingo Retablo upper right.jpg (85167 bytes)    Huejotzingo Retablo upper right High.jpg (1262118 bytes) This is zoomed

 Huejotzingo Retablo, center High res.jpg (1363998 bytes) this is zoomed    

Adoration Sheperds.JPG (26097 bytes)    circumcision.JPG (21085 bytes)    Resurrection.JPG (20480 bytes)    Huejotzingo, Retablo, Santo.jpg (108676 bytes)