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Mirador


Feb 9, 2014, 7:46 PM

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Beautiful Shapes

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With my magic eye, I have traveled all over southern Mexico, focusing mostly on Chiapas, and neighboring states. I have read that southern Mexico is the poorest region of the country, but it seems to me that even the dustiest streets in the most remote villages are rich with beauty and artistry. The colors are glorious, even when applied to only a door, and the intricate shapes of ironwork spill out of the rough-hewn dwellings like poetry.

My question is where does all the beautiful ironwork come from? Are there artisans in every village or is there some ironwork "Walmart" where locals can go and buy it at bargain prices? The reason I am so curious is because I lived in comparable poverty as a child in a remote area of the Carolinas. Our homes were as rough as those found throughout southern Mexico, but there is no way we could have afforded something so beautiful.



YucaLandia


Feb 10, 2014, 5:31 AM

Post #2 of 8 (5398 views)

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Re: [Mirador] Beautiful Shapes

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Both exist. There are small tallers of herreros (black-smiths) who buy steel rods, bars, etc. , heat it in fires, and bend it, twist it, hammer it, and shape it into beautiful forms. Simultaneously, there are also factories that make lots of standard shapes of curves, fleur-de-lis, circular shapes, sharp points, plus a number of standard steel ornaments (listed in catalogues). The herreros then assemble the shapes by welding them into rejas / protectores.

The protectore is likely the key to why you see so much iron-work here, and not back home. There has historically been a lot of property theft crimes of opportunity. For 150 years or so, if you did not lock things up in ways that stop low-level thieves (crimes of opportunity), then it would be stolen. The cost of the protectores is less than the long term financial and emotional costs of theft.

The same thing occurs at many Mexican businesses, where Mexican shops keep very tight control on the cash, and have internal controls to try to reduce stealing by employees that are not used in the Canada or the US - like where you are not allowed to go even see the stock (everything is in a secure back-area), where one person takes your order, another person receives your money and gives you a receipt, and you take your receipt to yet a 3'rd person who checks the receipt, stamps that receipt, and gives you the merchandise => extra loops to control theft.

e.g. Thieves here even routinely steal the copper tubing off home's roofs if there is no one in the home to notice them and chase them off. Sadly, we've also had locals killed while trying to steal live electrical wires off the poles.

In most places in the USA, the people in your town are not stealing your plumbing or electrical wires while you are out of the house - while that is a very real possibility here.
-
Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com

(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Feb 10, 2014, 5:32 AM)


Mirador


Feb 11, 2014, 7:06 PM

Post #3 of 8 (5335 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Beautiful Shapes

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Very interesting about the internal controls in businesses. I think we might be coming to the point where we should use that procedure in the USA. I have had first-hand experience with thieves stealing copper. In Tennessee, we had trouble rewiring a house because thieves went underneath and clipped it in sections while we were in the house working above. I'm afraid I wouldn't have mourned deeply for them if they had electrocuted themselves in the process.

I had taken note that Mexican builders also limit the number of windows, and there is a fortress feel to way their structures are laid out. Yet into this necessity, they have brought color and artistry. (And now I know where it comes from!)

Thank you for helping me understand more clearly what I see!


Rolly


Feb 11, 2014, 7:39 PM

Post #4 of 8 (5330 views)

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Re: [Mirador] Beautiful Shapes

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I had taken note that Mexican builders also limit the number of windows

Yes. In some cases more windows just aren't possible where a house is wall-to-wall with the neighbor's house.
I met some resistance on my building projects because I wanted more windows than are common. I avoided wall-to-wall construction in order that it would be possible to have at least two windows in each room.

If you are interested, you can learn more here: http://rollybrook.com/building_directory.htm

Rolly Pirate


Mirador


Feb 14, 2014, 6:30 PM

Post #5 of 8 (5285 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Beautiful Shapes

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Already read it! That's how I found you. You have the best article about real Mexican house building that I have found. You even explained why the roofs often bristle with with metal rods. Step by step, it was fabulous. I had figured out about the windows in towns -- no windows on the sides because of the wall-to-wall neighbor thing. But they are often windowless on three sides in rural areas with no close neighbors. So my guess went back and forth between two possibilities -- security, or possible a carryover from pre-Spanish, traditional dwellings where the living area was more outside and inside was for sleeping and storage.


citlali

Feb 15, 2014, 10:43 AM

Post #6 of 8 (5249 views)

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Re: [Mirador] Beautiful Shapes

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I would guess security and cost. Various areas have various styles. I know my house has a bunch of doors and they are all on the patio. We have two windows on the street because we put them there, there were no windows when we bought the house. We have a tradtional colonial San Cristobal house and there were very few windows on the street but all rooms have double doors opening on the patios.
At one time the house belonged to indigenous and the rooms were used for sleeping, the kitchen was added later and was in a separate building, the bathroom was also added later, one space for a shower, one space for the out house on the back patio outside.
I am not quite sure why you think people slept outside. Indigenous sleep inside in windowless rooms usally, they cook and bath outside. Windows are more work, cost more money and the room is not as secure with them, easy to see why there are very few windows. When there are some you can also understand why they have bars.


Mirador


Feb 18, 2014, 5:00 PM

Post #7 of 8 (5192 views)

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Re: [citlali] Beautiful Shapes

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I think you accidentally skipped over a word or two when reading my post -- I didn't think that people slept outside.
Your San Cristobal house sounds like it has a lot of history. I can almost see it the way your described it, and how it has changed.
San Cristobal de las Casas really pulled me in. Just when I think I've covered it all, I find a whole section I hadn't seen before. There is a building there that is different than anything else around it, on Cascajal, which seems very old. Has a sort of Byzantine architecture. I don't expect that just because you live in a city that you know every location within it, but I'll include the link in case you want to see it. If you do know this building, I'd be interesting to know of any history about it. https://maps.google.com/...p=12,205.89,,0,-3.81


citlali

Feb 18, 2014, 7:30 PM

Post #8 of 8 (5181 views)

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Re: [Mirador] Beautiful Shapes

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I could be wrong but I do not thing it is very old (for San Cristobal), I heard the story about it but I forgot it. I always thought it was someone building one of their dream place." I will ask for that story again and will let you know.
There are a few places in the hills that make you wonder who the owner were

The really old part here is the center which was about 2 blocks, The early barrios around the center had very few interesting buildings. I know that in the Cerrillo the barrio was just small places where indigenous that had converted were trained to be iron workers and there was one house that stood out and was the house of the only Spaniard living in this area. That house is on Comitan near General Utrilla.

The only building I know with mudejar influence is the Torre del Carmen, Now I have to check.
 
 
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