Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cuernavaca Cathedral: The Atrium Cross

In previous posts on Cuernavaca cathedral we noted the themes of death and sacrifice that pervade the precincts of this former Franciscan monastery. These could not be better represented than in the atrium cross that stands before the magnificent open chapel.
the atrium cross, eastern face
The present reconstituted cross is set on a massive square base stepped and battlemented on all four sides. What intensifies the macabre interest of this Christian symbol of death and sacrifice, are the bold reliefs of a skull and crossed bones embedded at the foot of the cross.
© Niccolo Brooker 
Not only is the projecting skull a rare Aztec sculpture but it is attached to a square stone box called a cuauhxicalli, designed to receive the hearts torn from sacrificial victims—a remarkable prehispanic survival—and an artifact that now often holds floral and other offerings!
text and images © 2018 Richard D. Perry, except where noted

Visit our other posts in this series on Cuernavaca cathedral: 

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