Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mexican Crosses: The Crosses of Actopan

The second in our series of pictorial pages on the great 16th century monasteries of Mexico features the grand Augustinian priory of Actopan, in Hidalgo, with a special focus on its varied portrayals of the cross.  
   This page also serves as the inaugural post in our new series on Mexican crosses of all kinds—carved stone crosses old and new, wooden crucifixes or painted murals.  Be surprised!
 Felipe Falcón
Actopan, the atrium cross, sculpted with Passion objects and set on globe in front of church

 The Crosses of Actopan

The magnificent Augustinian priory of Actopan boasts an extraordinary wealth of early colonial art and architecture—among them grand, innovative buildings faced with spectacular murals.
   Among the less well publicized of these treasures are the various portrayals of the cross, in murals and relief sculptures in its precincts. A singular feature of these depictions, in both genres, is the presence of the arma christi or the Instruments of Christ's Passion. 
Calvary cross relief, with skull and bones, carved above the convento porteria 
Armorial cross with Passion symbols, Augustinian pierced heart and tasseled hat  (Prior's room)
Partially obliterated mural of banded tree crosses with Crown of Thorns and  arma christi
Calvary cross mural with arma christi: column; ladder, lance; sponge; crown of thorns, skull & bones, etc.
text ©2012 Richard D. Perry.  photographs by Niccolo Brooker and Felipe Falcón

for more on Actopan and other Mexican monasteries consult our guidebook: Mexico's Fortress Monasteries
look for our forthcoming pictorial guide to Mexican Carved Stone Crosses

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