Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Crosses of Acuamanala

Continuing with our occasional series on the early stone crosses of Tlaxcala, we travel to Acuamanala.
With nearby Panotla, Acuamanala boasts one of the most ornate of Tlaxcala's baroque church fronts, densely carved in painted stucco with estĂ­pite columns and pilasters laced with rocaille decoration and lambrequin pendants.
Between the columns, elaborate niche pilasters with extravagantly scrolled outlines are bedecked with shells and heraldic relief medallions, and house larger than life size statues of saints in windblown robes. A tiny bust of the Virgin Mary reposes in an irregular cartouche above the doorway.
The Crosses
Set on a high, hollow base just outside the ornate atrium gateway, the unusual atrium cross is quite distinct from others in the area and presents several features of interest.

Heavily inscribed at the foot with dates in the 1600s, the cross features deep, regular grooves along the arms and shaft terminate in angel heads carved in high relief. The cruder Face at the crossing is missing its nose—possibly once an inlay.
Holes drilled above the Face and on the lower shaft, are designed to receive wooden or metal Spikes. The distinctive, scrolled and pointed finials, derived from a fleur-de-lis motif, are reminiscent of some in the Valley of Mexico.
Two other crosses stand in the corners of the atrium: one with assorted Passion symbols and relief figures, and the other boldly carved with vines.
text and graphic © 2019 Richard D. Perry
cross photographs courtesy of Niccolò Brooker
see our post on the cross of Santa Cruz Tlaxcala

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