Exploring Colonial Mexico©

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For years Richard and Rosalind Perry have traveled along the highways and back roads of Mexico exploring its vast and varied colonial heritage. Although at times frustrating, these journeys are more often exhilarating and always rewarding. Time after time we have experienced the satisfaction of finally arriving at some long awaited church or monastery, or the thrill of discovering some undocumented country chapel or gilded altarpiece and sharing it with our readers and friends.

We first visited Mexico in 1966. After attending the University of the Americas, we spent several weeks traveling around the country by car, not an easy journey in those days of poor roads.

We especially enjoyed exploring the southern states of Oaxaca and Yucatán, exploring the ancient Maya, Zapotec and other sites in the region. But as we journeyed, we became more and more intrigued by the Spanish churches, chapels and monasteries that we found standing in almost every town and village that we passed through.

On later trips we continued to investigate these old colonial buildings but were unable to find much information about them, especially for the English speaking visitor.

Following a subsequent tour of Yucatán in 1982, we decided to produce our own traveler's guide to the colonial churches of that area. After much research and several more field trips we published our first illustrated book, Maya Missions, in 1988, with drawings by Richard. (An updated edition of this guide is scheduled for Spring 2002)

We then began work on our second guide, Mexico's Fortress Monasteries, which describes and illustrates the numerous 16th century missions and monasteries of the central Mexican heartland and Oaxaca. Published in 1992, its appearance coincided with the Columbus Quincentennial and the renewed focus on the European discovery of the New World and its momentous consequences.

Soon after, we turned our attention to Chiapas, the other major Maya region of southern Mexico. Like Yucatán, Chiapas was a poor colonial province far from the centers of Spanish power. A unique regional style of architecture developed there, vernacular in flavor but heavily influenced by artistic currents from Guatemala and southern Spain. In 1994 we published our Chiapas guidebook, More Maya Missions, as a companion volume to the book onYucatán.

We next undertook several fascinating field trips to different areas of west central Mexico, and recently published a descriptive guide to the extraordinary variety of colonial arts and architecture to be found there -- the first book of its kind in English to cover this extensive region. Entitled Blue Lakes and Silver Cities, it focusses on the colonial arts and architecture of Michoacán and its neighbors.

In a departure from our usual guides, in 2001 we published a collection of classic travel writings on Yucatan - one of our favorite regions - entitled Exploring Yucatan, A Travelers' Anthology.

Rosalind has other interests apart from Mexican missions. She is also a quilt writer and lecturer, publishing several books on her celebrated grandmother, Marie Webster. She is currently involved in restoring the Webster house in Indiana as the Quilters Hall of Fame.