Monday, December 16, 2013

Mexican Crosses: Huipulco

San Lorenzo Huipulco
Place of the Sacrificial Spines

Located where Coyoacán meets Tlalpan in the southern part of Mexico City, the modest 17th century chapel at Huipulco, currently painted in yellow ocher, has been overshadowed by the adjacent construction of a modernistic, red roofed church.

The Atrium Cross
However, the old atrium cross survives along with the repainted chapel. Now embedded in a raised pedestal in front of the old chapel, it looks almost like a cross designed by Dali.

The elongated, rectangular shaft of the cross is quite plain, but the main features of the cross are of a piece with other stone crosses in this area: an outsized but now eroded Crown of Thorns at the crossing and especially the exaggerated, but drooping foliated finials sprouting from the shortened arms and head.

Floral reliefs on the tips of either arm open their four petals to reveal a cluster of stamens in the center—a finely observed detail. They have been altered over time, however, and today it is difficult to determine their original appearance. The arm finials are slightly mismatched and different in design from the head.

However, a separate finial, capped with an INRI plaque, currently rests at the side of the atrium. As photographs from the 1930's reveal, this may have been the original surmounting element of the cross.
text and drawings © 2013 Richard D Perry  All rights reserved.  b/w photograph © INAH
Look for our forthcoming guide to Mexican Stone Crosses

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