Saturday, April 20, 2013

Water, Water: The Pilas of Tlaxcala

We resume our series on water with a look at selected fonts and fountains in colonial Mexico:
As we saw in our previous posts, some of the finest 16th century colonial stonework is found in the state of Tlaxcala. Much of the earliest stonework however, consisted of baptismal fonts, the indispensable vessel for the initial rite of religious conversion. 

Here we show a varied group of four fonts from the city of Tlaxcala and two more from the region.
San Francisco de Tlaxcala.  
This plain, monolithic basin is reputed to be the historic font in which the Four Lords of Tlaxcala were baptised in the presence of the conquistador Hernán Cortés.
San Francisco de Tlaxcala.
This unusual squared baptismal font now rests in the convento museum  
San José de Tlaxcala.

This is one of two extraordinary pilas in the parish church. Although the basin is plain, the supporting shaft is a piece of pre hispanic stonework, allegedly depicting Camaxtli, the Aztec god of war and hunting. 
San José de Tlaxcala. 

This companion font stands on a section of a fluted column and rests on a fragment of an early Spanish coat of arms featuring the two headed imperial eagle.

Old stone fonts are found in churches across Tlaxcala.  Two examples can be seen at Tepeyanco and Santa Cruz de Tlaxcala :
San Francisco Tepeyanco, basin incorporating pre hispanic stonework

Santa Cruz de Tlaxcala, angel basin and support
For more on the early colonial monuments of Tlaxcala and Puebla, 
consult our guidebook Mexico's Fortress Monasteries 

1 comment:

  1. This is great. The Tlaxcaltecas (and southern Poblano neighbors) have a long history (2500+ years) of carving monolithic basins at sites like Xochitecatl: