Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Carved Crosses of Hidalgo: La Magdalena Actopan

La Magdalena cross: front; reverse.
Like San Gerónimo, the little chapel of La Magdalena is another former visita of Actopan. Located in the sierra foothills to the east, it also boasts an early atrium cross in a closely related style, its cylindrical arms and shaft crowded with unconventionally depicted Passion objects. 
A simplified, loose Crown of Thorns encircles the crossing, framing a grinning, moon-like Face with hooded, closed eyes. Elongated spikes pierce fan style Wounds along the arms which sprout abbreviated cluster finials. On the shaft the Host floats above a chalice from which spill drops of water or blood. 
Other Passion reliefs embellish the reverse side including a hammer, a scourge and a rooster atop a column.
   Various plant reliefs snake up the sides of the cross which is firmly set on a vase like pedestal lined with leaves or feathers reminiscent of a baptismal font. 
   The surmounting plaque is inscribed with the letters S M (Santa Maria) instead of the customary INRI.
text © 2016 Richard D. Perry cross images by Niccolò Brooker

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