Carcar Church’s coffered and painted ceiling

Detail of coffered ceiling

Detail of coffered ceiling

Archival photo of interior. Note the coffered ceiling that has been replaced with paintings

Archival photo of interior circa late 19th or early 20th century. Note the coffered ceiling that has been replaced with paintings

Of all the churches in Cebu, Carcar Church differs for it’s breathtaking coffered ceiling at the lateral naves of the interior. The series of patterns done in wood looks simple but upon close inspection, the level of intricacy is stunning. It’s level of detail is a stark contrast to the simple façade that gives a pleasant surprise to the visitor. Of the many church ceilings I have seen in the country, only the church in Jasaan in Misamis Oriental, comes close.

The photos used in this series were taken between 2005 and 2008 as the author visits this church from time to time. Special thanx to Lorens Gibb Lapinid for the assistance in 2008.The central nave is painted with floral motif and designs with symbols of Christ’s passion. Separating the nave from the presbytery is the arco toral, a huge arch that spans the width of the nave. Here, both sides are painted with the Ascension of Christ on the left and the Assumption of Mary at the right. At the presbytery, the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) forms as a backdrop of the retablo mayor and the evangelists at the sides.

Are the paintings original? The archival photo at the left shows that, except for the two at the arco toral, it is not. The central nave also had a coffered ceiling before. And that the presybytery ceiling paintings were different from the one that can be seen now. The Holy Trinity originally occupied the area where the Sagrada Familia is presently situated. I’m not sure why this was replaced, but it’s possible that the ceiling got damaged either by a typhoon or might have weakened and collapsed, thus the replacement. This was most likely done during the early 20th century.

Composite image of entire central nave ceiling starting at the choir loft and ends at the arco toral just before the presbytery. CLICK FOR A BIGGER IMAGE

Composite image of entire central nave ceiling starting at the choir loft and ends at the arco toral just before the presbytery. CLICK FOR A BIGGER IMAGE

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4 Comments

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