Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Santiago Silao.

We continue our review of sculpted crucifixes with a look at the 18th century parish church front of Santiago Apostol in Silao, also in Guanajuato, which boasts several exterior sculptured reliefs of interest. 
First and most striking is the relief of the patron posed as St James the Moorslayer in the upper facade, dated 1739. 
The mounted saint raises his sword smiting infidels whose turbaned heads roll beneath horse’s hooves. Detailed folds of the saint’s cloak and the horse’s mane and tail are telling touches. 
   Above the saint, the Spanish royal arms are mounted atop the surmounting pediment—a rare colonial survival.
Less obvious is the appealing folkloric full body crucifix set in a niche above the north doorway. 
Now somewhat battered, it is carved in the customary posture, with taut, outstretched arms, inclined head and partially flexed legs. The Christ figure has a serene, almost angelic facial expression that seems to deny His suffering on the cross. A grinning Skull and Bones sits at the foot of the crucifix.
text © 2020 Richard D. Perry
photography by Niccolo Brooker and ELTB 

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