Angels with Shooters

You pay for the protection, you get the protection. It is the 29th of September - graying, chill, geese passing over - which is the Feast of S. Michael and all Angels. Thus it was prudent, once night had fallen, to set lights to burn in front of all the Cuzco paintings of the celestial armies of the altiplano of the Andes. Angels in the brocade coats and sashes of a Spanish officer of the seventeenth century, winged and with the plumes of the Inca in their hats. And carrying, firing, loading great heavy arquebuses. First painted in the churches of the remote indio villages as the bodyguard of the Virgin, three hundred and fifty years ago, still painted today in the same tradition, they are one of the strangest and most compelling manifestations of the hybridity of the arts of the baroque Americas.
How gracefully they inhabit the square rooms of this retired gentilhommiere in the north of Scotland. Uriel dei, the only woman among them, in masque-costume as an Amazon with a flaming sword, walking by a lake in the high mountains. Then the officers of the celestial brigades: Aziel the fear of God; Salamiel the peace of God; Laliel the strength of God; Osiel the endurance of god; Aspiel the lightning of god; Layel the demonifuge who watches in the hours of night. Once the lights had been set in front of all of them I went out into the cool dark and looked back at the house alive with flickering lights, a flame burning up here and there to reflect off the gilding on their coats and sashes. And the stars very bright in the zenith. My Lords the Angels, vigilant patrol, keep the house.

2 Responses to “Angels with Shooters”

  1. The German Guest Says:

    Wonderful.

  2. carol Says:

    Wish I could have seen it- beautiful!

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