Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Carved Crosses of Hidalgo: San Miguel Jaltepec

Set high on an elaborate tiered base in front of the modest chapel of San Miguel Jaltepec, located just across the Mexico state line southwest of Tepeapulco, this handsome, cylindrical cross is skillfully fashioned from the coarse local sandstone. 
   Sculpted in a highly distinctive manner reminiscent of the Huichapan cross, it reveals the hand of a quite original stone carver. Although the crosspiece may be later than the shaft and head, the various Passion objects, densely carved in high relief, have a stylized, ambiguous character with an affinity for rounded, fan like forms. 
Although no Face appears on the cross, a necklace style Crown is folded around the neck, flanked by what may be semicircular Wounds with long threads of blood pointing outwards to the coiled finials on either arm. 
   Numerous Instruments are portrayed around the shaft: an eroded Cockerel sits atop a helical Column carved in outline. A droopy Chalice, or is it a pelican?, with outlying rays or ribs rests on a semicircular object like a slice of orange. 
   Below, a sunburst in the form of a wheel appears above another, half round, spoked motif. The cylindrical cross is capped by an elaborately scrolled INRI plaque with cherubs’ heads.
 The back of the cross is carved with eroded, stick like reliefs that appear to be a Lance, Reed or Ladder.
text © 2016 Richard D. Perry. images by Niccolò Broker
see our other Hidalgo crosses: HuichapanAtlanTlahuelilpaAnayaTezontepecEl Cardonal;


  1. My research is showing that San Miguel Jaltepec is in Estado México. Que te parece?

    1. correct, just across the Mexico state line. mea culpa!