Wednesday, February 15, 2017

San Francisco Tepeaca: the convento entry

In recent posts we have looked at the murals of Tepeaca, its unique early Moorish tower, with its warrior eagle relief, and the remnants of its great 16th century fountain.
   For our last post on Tepeaca we consider the expansive carved entry to the convento, a classic early Franciscan doorway, located in the south corner of the portería.
Niccolo Brooker
Compared to the plain north doorway of the church, and even the painted west doorway, this is a remarkably elaborate sculptural statement, incorporating a wide variety of ornamental motifs.
   In form it follows a typical early Franciscan pattern, with broad jambs, a flattened "basket handle" arch, framed by a surmounting, rectangular alfiz, all cut from reddish stone.

Paired vertical relief panels with pruned plant sprays and rosettes form the jambs, which are in turn capped by concave, leafy capitals and rows of rosettes along the base.
   Eight point rosettes continue around the arch, echoed by a row of pomas, or pearl moldings, inset above—a motif we saw over the west doorway. 
   The alfiz is even more complex, lined with relief medallions of religious monograms, alternating armorial fleur-de-lis crosses and "windblown" rosettes.
Benjamin Arredondo
Beverley Spears
Pomas, here more like cannonballs in scale, again decorate the complex capitals along the cloister arcades, also spanned by basket handle arches.
text © 2017 Richard D. Perry
images by the author except where noted.
check out our other posts on exceptional colonial doorways: Tecamachalco; Yanhuitlan; Texcoco; La Casa de Montejo; Templo de Encino; Ixtacala; Tlamaco

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