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One Virgin and Many Saints



     I should have guessed that Linda Nyquist would correct me. She says:
     "Mexico is replete with retablos on tin; they can be seen in many churches. There is a truly extensive collection in the church in the "ghost town" of Real del Catorce, located at 9000 feet above (and a little to the north) of Matehuala. When I first went to Mexico, they could be purchased for $5-10 and were of good quality. Now they are almost impossible to find, and if you can, they cost $200.00 or more. I have several, of which I am extremely fond. Another nice collection is in the house of Frida Kahlo "The Blue House on Londres Street."
     The last ones I purchased, about 15 years ago, were in an antique shop in Zacatecas, and were about $100. each. I felt lucky to get them. Usually, they are full of nail holes around the edges, having been tacked up to walls. I love them."


     My comment: I sit corrected, staring at my reference books. My impression is that the major retablos in Mexico are estofado. Tin is easy to shape, and is not subject to destruction by insects. That is true also of silver, of which Mexico had plenty, but it is more expensive. Where did the tine come from? Reference books list the many metals which Mexico produces, but tin is not among them. Does it come from Bolivia, the only American country with large deposits of tin?

Ronald Hilton - 5/19/00


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