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Title: The Arts and Crafts of Older Spain, Volume I (of 3)
Author: Williams, Leonard
Language: English
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[Illustration: _Frontispiece_
(_Seville Cathedral_)]

The World of Art Series




Corresponding Member of the Royal Spanish Academy,
of the Royal Spanish Academy of History, and of the
Royal Spanish Academy of Fine Arts;
Author of "The Land of the Dons"; "Toledo and Madrid"; "Granada," etc.

In Three Volumes, Illustrated


A. C. McClurg & Co.
Edinburgh: T. N. Foulis

American Edition
Published October 10, 1908


                         BY SPECIAL PERMISSION
                            THEIR MAJESTIES
                      KING ALFONSO THE THIRTEENTH
                        QUEEN VICTORIA OF SPAIN


In preparing these volumes, it has been my aim to give a clear and
fairly complete account of the arts and crafts of older Spain. It seems
to me that there is room for a work of this design and scope, and that
there is no reason why so attractive a subject--or rather, group of
subjects--should be perpetually ignored by persons who travel through,
or who profess to feel an interest in, the country of the Cid and of Don

My account of Spanish pottery is guarded, and yet I trust acceptable.
The study of this craft in Spain is far from definite, and fresh
researches and discoveries may be hoped for at some future time. The
history of Spanish arms has also suffered from unjust neglect. Perhaps
my sketch of them may slightly compensate for this deficiency. For the
rest, my book, which represents the well-meant assiduity of several
years, shall speak for itself. Although I was embarrassed by too much
material, the illustrations have been chosen with great care, and not, I
think, inadequately. Some of the photographs were taken specially for
this work. For the loan of others, or for kind assistance generally, I
am indebted to Excmo. Señor Don Guillermo J. de Osma, Excmo. Señor Don
José Villegas, and Excmo. Señor Don José Moreno Carbonero; to Señores
Góngora and Valladar, of Granada; and to Messrs Hauser and Menet, and
Mons. Lacoste, of Madrid.

_August_, 1907.

                         CONTENTS OF VOLUME ONE


  GOLD, SILVER, AND JEWEL WORK                                    1-119

  IRON-WORK                                                     120-159

  BRONZES                                                       160-191

  ARMS                                                          192-289

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

                              _VOLUME ONE_

                            GOLD AND SILVER

     PLATE                                                         PAGE

           _Reja_ of the Choir; Seville Cathedral        _Frontispiece_

        I. Treasure of Guarrazar; Royal Armoury, Madrid              22

       II. The Cross of Angels; Oviedo Cathedral                     36

      III. The Cross of Victory; Oviedo Cathedral                    43

       IV. Moorish Casket; Gerona Cathedral                          46

        V. Altar-Front in enamelled Bronze; Museum of Burgos         50

       VI. "The Crucifix of the Cid"; Salamanca Cathedral            52

      VII. The "Virgen de la Vega"; San Esteban, Salamanca           54

     VIII. Saint James in Pilgrim's Dress; Santiago Cathedral        57

       IX. Mudejar Triptych; Royal Academy of History, Madrid        60

        X. The "Tablas Alfonsinas"; Seville Cathedral                62

       XI. "The Cup of Saint Ferdinand"; Seville Cathedral           64

      XII. Ship; Zaragoza Cathedral                                  65

     XIII. Moorish Bracelets                                         77

      XIV. Morisco Jewellery                                         83

       XV.  Silver-Gilt Processional Cross                           85

      XVI.  Gothic _Custodia_                                        95

     XVII.  The _Custodia_ of Seville Cathedral                     100

    XVIII.  Early Chalice and Cross in Filigree Gold                114


      XIX. Old Keys; Seville Cathedral                              131

     XIXA. Decorative Nail-Heads; Convent of San Antonio, Toledo    134

       XX. Door-Knockers                                            136

      XXI. Ceremonial Maces and Lantern                             138

     XXII. Iron Pulpit; Avila Cathedral                             140

    XXIII. _Reja_ of Chapel Royal; Granada Cathedral                148

     XXIV. The same (View from Interior)                            149

      XXV. _Reja_; Casa de Pilatos, Seville                         155

     XXVI. _Reja_ of the "Casa de las Conchas," Salamanca           156


    XXVII. "Meleager's Hunt"                                        164

   XXVIII. A _Candil_                                               166

     XXIX. A _Velón_                                                168

      XXX. Bronze Lion                                              171

     XXXI. Bronze Stag; Museum of Cordova                           173

    XXXII. Bronze Temple; Museum of Granada                         174

   XXXIII. Moorish Lamp and Mortar; Museum of Granada               176

    XXXIV. Lamp of Mohammed the Third; Madrid Museum                178

     XXXV. Abbot Samson's Bell; Museum of Cordova                   180

    XXXVI. Bronze Crucifix                                          182

   XXXVII. The Puerta del Perdón; Seville Cathedral                 184

  XXXVIII. The Weathercock of the Giralda Tower                     186


    XXXIX. Crest of Jousting Helmet; Royal Armoury, Madrid          198

       XL. Spanish Crossbowman; Royal Armoury, Madrid               202

      XLI. The Battle of La Higueruela; El Escorial                 206

     XLII. Parade Harness of Philip the Third; Royal Armoury,
           Madrid                                                   210

    XLIII. Moorish Crossbow and Stirrup; Museum of Granada          214

     XLIV. Moorish Sword; Casa de los Tiros, Granada                218

      XLV. Sword of Boabdil el Chico; Museum of Artillery, Madrid   222

     XLVI. Dagger of Boabdil el Chico; Museum of Artillery, Madrid  226

    XLVII. Moorish Sword                                            230

   XLVIII. War Harness of Charles the Fifth; Royal Armoury, Madrid  234

     XLIX. Jousting Harness of Charles the Fifth; Royal Armoury,
           Madrid                                                   238

        L. Jousting Harness of Philip the Handsome; Royal Armoury,
           Madrid                                                   242

       LI. Moorish Buckler; Royal Armoury, Madrid                   246

      LII. Armour made at Pamplona; Royal Armoury, Madrid           250

     LIII. _Adarga_; Royal Armoury, Madrid                          254

      LIV. Spanish Swords; Royal Armoury, Madrid                    258

       LV. Spanish Sword; Royal Armoury, Madrid                     262

      LVI. Spanish Sword                                            266

     LVII. Spanish Swords; Royal Armoury, Madrid                    270

    LVIII. Sword Marks                                              272

      LIX. _Bridona_ Saddle; Royal Armoury, Madrid                  274

       LX. Hanging _Jaeces_ for Horses                              278

      LXI. Travelling Litter attributed to Charles the Fifth; Royal
           Armoury, Madrid                                          282

                      GOLD, SILVER, AND JEWEL WORK

The hyperbolic language of the ancients spoke of Spain as filled
throughout, upon her surface and beneath her soil, with precious stones
and precious metals. Old writers--Strabo, Pliny, Aristoteles, Pomponius
Mela, and Diodorus Siculus--declare that once upon a time a mountain
fire, lighted by shepherds in the Pyrenees and fanned into a
conflagration by the wind, heated the earth until the ore within her
entrails came bubbling to the top and ran away in rivulets of molten
gold and silver, spreading all over Spain. The indigens of Lusitania as
they dug their fields were said to strike their implements on nuggets
half a pound in weight. The heart of the Peninsula, between the B[oe]tis
and the Annas rivers--that is, the country of the Oretani and the
Bastitani--was fabled to abound in mines of gold. The traders from
Ph[oe]nicia, we are told, discovered silver to be so abundant with the
Turdetani that "the vilest utensils of this people were composed
thereof, even to their barrels and their pots." Accordingly these shrewd
Ph[oe]nicians, offering worthless trinkets in exchange, loaded their
ships with silver to the water's edge, and even, when their cargo was
complete, fashioned their chains and anchors of the residue.

In spite of their extravagance, upon the whole these legends are not
utterly devoid of truth. "Tradition," said so careful an authority as
Symonds, "when not positively disproved should be allowed to have its
full value; and a sounder historic sense is exercised in adopting its
testimony with due caution, than in recklessly rejecting it and
substituting guesses which the lack of knowledge renders insubstantial."
So with the legends of the gold and silver treasure of the old-time
Spaniards. Besides, it seems unquestionable that those fanciful
assertions had their origin in fact. Spain stood upon the western border
of the ancient world. Year in, year out, the sanguine sun went seething
down into the waters at her western marge. Mariners from distant
countries viewed those sunsets and associated them with Spain herself.
Thus, hereabouts in the unclouded south, would gold and silver be
suggested by the solar orb; or emerald and jacinth, pearl and amethyst
and ruby, by the matchless colours of the seldom-failing sunset.

Then, too, though not of course in fabulous amount, the precious metals
actually existed in this land. Various of her rivers, such as the Calom
or Darro of Granada, the Tagus, the Agneda, and the Sil, rolled down,
together with their current, grains of gold. "Les Mores," wrote Bertaut
de Rouen of the first of these rivers, "en tiroient beaucoup autrefois;
mais cela a esté discontinué depuis à cause de la trop grande dépense
qu'il y faloit faire. Il est certain que souvent on prend dans le Darro
de petits morceaux d'or, et il y a des gens qui sont accoûtumez d'y en

Centuries before this abbot wrote his book, the Arab author of the
geographical dictionary known as the _Marasid Ithila_ had made a similar
remark upon this gold-producing stream; and in the sixteenth century I
find an Ordinance of Granada city prohibiting the townspeople from
digging up the river-bed unless it were to look for gold.[1] Probably,
however, and in spite of what some chroniclers suppose, the title Darro
is not in any way connected with the Latin words _dat aurum_.

  [1] _Ordenanza de la Limpieza_ (1537), Tit. 9: "We command that nobody
      remove sand from the aforesaid river Darro unless to extract gold,
      in which case he shall fill up the holes he made, or pay a fine of
      fifty _maravedis_ for damaging the watercourses that enter this
      city and the buildings of the Alhambra."

"Two leagues from Guadarrama," wrote the mineralogist William Bowles,
about the middle of the eighteenth century, "opposite the town and in
the direction of San Ildefonso, is a deep valley where one notices a
vein of common quartz containing some iron. Here, without the use of
glasses, I perceived a good many grains of gold.... In Galicia grains of
gold are found on sandy hills, and one is astonished to observe the
wonderful works carried out by the Romans to bring the sands together,
wash them, and extract the precious metal. Local tradition affirms that
this precious sand was destined for the purses of three Roman
empresses--Livia, Agrippina, and Faustina.... I know a German minister
who employed his spare time in washing these sands and collecting the

The Romans, it is true, profited very greatly by the native wealth of
the Peninsula. Helvius enriched the treasury with 14,732 pounds of
Spanish silver bars and 17,023 pounds of silver money; Cornelius
Lentulus, with 1515 pounds of gold, 20,000 pounds of bar-silver, and
34,550 pounds in coin. Cato came back from his pro-consulship with
five-and-twenty thousand pounds of silver bars, twelve thousand pounds
of silver money, and four hundred pounds of gold. Seventy thousand
pounds of coined silver fell to the share of Flaccus, while Minutius
exhibited at his triumph eight thousand pounds of silver bars, and three
hundred thousand pounds of silver coin.

Mines of silver,[2] gold, and precious stones were also fairly numerous
in Spain. Moorish authors wrote enthusiastically of the mines of
precious metals in or close to the Sierra Nevada. "Even at this day,"
said Bowles, "the Moorish mines may be distinguished from the Roman. The
Romans made the towers of their fortresses of a round shape, in order to
avoid as far as possible the blows of the battering-ram; and their
miners, whether from habit or intentionally, made the mouths of their
mines round also. The Moors, as strangers to this engine, built their
towers square and gave a square shape also to the mouths of their
mines. The round mouths of Roman mines are yet to be seen at Riotinto
and other places, and the square mouths of Moorish mines in the
neighbourhood of Linares."

  [2] "I am not aware of any Spanish mine containing silver in a state of
      absolute purity; though some, I think, would be discovered if they
      were searched for."--Bowles: _Historia Natural de España_.

Emeralds were formerly extracted from a mine at Moron, in the Sierra de
Leyta; white sapphires and agates at Cape de Gata,[3] at the eastern
extremity of the Gulf of Almeria; amethysts at Monte de las Guardas,
near the port of Plata, "in a precipice (_sic_) about twenty feet in
depth." According to Laborde, garnets have been discovered down to
modern times "in a plain half-way on the road from Almeria to Motril.
They are very abundant there, particularly in the bed of a ravine,
formed by rain-torrents, at the foot of a little hill, upon which a
great number of them are likewise found. The emeralds are in the kingdom
of Seville, all the others in that of Granada. It has been said for some
time that a pit in the mountain of Bujo, at Cape de Gata, contains a
great many precious stones; but none could be found there,
notwithstanding the prolonged and careful searches that were lately

  [3] Possibly, as Bowles suggests, for Cabo de Agata--"Agate Cape." "It
      would not be strange," he adds, "if diamonds were found at this
      cape, since there are signs of their presence. I found white
      sapphires, slightly clouded, together with cornelians, jaspers,
      agates, and garnets."

Silver mines exist, or have existed, at Benasque, Calzena, and Bielza,
in Aragon; at Cuevas, near Almeria; at Almodovar del Campo; at Zalamea,
in Extremadura; at Puerto Blanco, in Seville province; in the Sierra de
Guadalupe; at Fuente de la Mina, near Constantina; and near Almazarron,
in the province of Carthagena. Not far from this latter city was another
mine, that sent to Rome a daily yield of five-and-twenty thousand
drachmas, and was worked by forty thousand men. Twenty thousand pounds
in weight of pure silver proceeded yearly from Asturias, Lusitania, and
Galicia. Hannibal extracted from a Pyrenean mine three hundred pounds a
day. The fair Himilca, wife of Hasdrubal, was owner of a silver mine at
two leagues' distance from Linares. Laborde wrote of this mine: "It was
reopened in the seventeenth century, when a vein five feet in breadth
was found, from which many pieces of silver were taken; the working of
it, however, has been neglected. It belongs to the town of Baeza."

The same author, who wrote about one hundred years ago, gives curious
and instructive notices of several other Spanish silver mines. "The
mountains of the kingdom of Seville, on the confines of Extremadura,
towards Guadalcanal, Alanis, Puerto Blanco, and Cazalla, which form a
part of the extremity of the chain of Sierra Morena, contain several
silver mines, which have been worked. There is one of these in the
Sierra Morena, three miles from Guadalcanal, which to all appearance
must have been very rich: there were three shafts for descending, the
mouths of which are still to be seen: it was worked in the seventeenth
century, and given up in 1653. It is believed that it was inundated by
the workmen, in revenge for a new tax that was laid upon them. Another
silver mine was also worked formerly, a league and a half from the
other; it has a shaft, and a gallery of ancient construction; the vein
is six feet in circumference, and is composed of spar and quartz. There
is also a third mine, a league and a half from Guadalcanal, and half a
league south-east of the village of Alanis, in the middle of a field; it
is two feet wide; the Romans constructed a gallery in it, from south to
north; a branch of it running eastward has been worked since their time:
it originally contained pyrites and quartz, but it is by no means rich;
there is lead at the bottom."

Gold mines, or traces of them, have been found in the neighbourhood of
Molina in Aragon, San Ildefonso in Old Castile, and Alocer in
Extremadura; in the Sierra de Leyta; in the valley of Hecho in Aragon;
and at Paradeseca and Ponferrada--this latter town the _Interamnium
Flavium_ of the Romans.

It is said that the chieftains of the ancient Spaniards adorned their
robes with rude embroidery worked in gold, and that the men and women of
all ranks wore gold and silver bracelets. These statements cannot now be
either proved or controverted. Gold or silver objects older than the
Roman domination have not been found abundantly in Spain. Riaño
describes a silver bowl, conical in shape and evidently fashioned on the
wheel, engraved with Iberian characters on one of its sides. A similar
bowl was found in Andalusia in the seventeenth century, full of Iberian
coins and weighing ten ounces. Gold ornaments, such as earrings, and
_torques_ or collars for the neck, have been discovered in Galicia less
infrequently than in the other Spanish regions, and may be seen to-day
in private collections, in the Royal Academy of History at Madrid, and
in the National Museum of Archæology.[4] Villa-amil y Castro has written
fully of these _torques_ (Museo Español de Antigüedades, _Adornos de oro
encontrados en Galicia_). In nearly every case, he says, they consist of
a plain gold bar, C-shaped and therefore not completely closed into a
ring, and with a knob at each extremity, as though their pattern were
suggested by the yoke of cattle. One or two are decorated with a
somewhat rude design extending through a portion of their length.

  [4] A fresh find of _torques_ and _fibulæ_ has occurred in the spring
      of this year at La Moureta, near Ferrol.

On one of these occasions a pair of curious, kidney-shaped earrings was
found, together with a _torque_. These earrings, apparently of later
workmanship than the other ornament, are decorated over all their
surface, partly with a filigree design, and partly with a fine, beadlike
pattern executed with a small chisel or graving tool in the manner known
in French as _fusé_, _guilloché_, or _hachié_. Their material is hollow
gold, and when discovered they were filled with a substance resembling
powdered charcoal, mixed with a metallic clay.

These ornaments are ascribed by most authorities to an undetermined
period somewhere previous to the Roman domination. I think, however,
that less improbably they were produced by Spanish craftsmen in
imitation of the Roman manner, and during the time of Roman rule in the
Peninsula. This would account for their deficiencies of execution, and
also for certain characteristics which they evidently share with Roman

We know that Rome imposed her usages on all the peoples whom she
subjugated. Consequently, following this universal law, the Spaniards
would adopt, together with the lavish luxury of Rome, the Roman
ornaments and articles of jewellery. Such were the _annulus_ or
finger-ring; the _fibula_, a brooch or clasp for securing the cloak; the
_torques_ or neck-ring, more or less resembling those in use among the
Persians; and the _phalera_, a round plate of gold, silver, or other
metal, engraved with any one of a variety of emblems, worn upon the
breast or stomach by the persons of either sex, and very commonly
bestowed upon the Roman soldiers in reward of military service. Then
there were several kinds of earrings--the variously-designed
_stalagmium_ or pendant, the _inaures_, or the _crotalium_, hung with
pearls that brushed together as their wearer walked, and gratified her
vanity by their rustling; and also several kinds of bracelets--the gold
or bronze _armilla_, principally worn by men; the _periscelis_, the
_spathalium_, and the _dextrale_, worn round the fleshy part of the
right arm.[5]

  [5] These ornaments were retained in use by the Visigoths, and find
      their due description in the _Etymologies_ of Saint Isidore;

     "_Inaures_ ab aurium foraminibus nuncupatae, quibus pretiosa genera
     lapidum dependuntur."

     "_Tourques_ sunt circuli aurei a collo ad pectus usque dependentes.
     Torques autem et bullae a viris geruntur; a foeminis vero monilia et

     "_Fibulæ_ sunt quibus pectus foeminarum ornatur, vel pallium tenetur:
     viris in humeris, seu cingulum in lumbris."

Discoveries of Roman jewellery and gold and silver work have occurred
from time to time in the Peninsula; for example, at Espinosa de Henares
and (in 1840) near Atarfe, on the southern side of the volcanic-looking
Sierra Elvira, a few miles from Granada. Riaño describes a Roman silver
dish found in a stone quarry at Otañez, in the north of Spain. "It
weighs thirty-three ounces, and is covered with an ornamentation of
figures in relief, some of which are gilt, representing an allegorical
subject of the source of medicinal waters. In the upper part is a nymph
who pours water from an urn over rocks; a youth collects it in a
vessel; another gives a cup of it to a sick man; another fills with it a
barrel which is placed in a four-wheeled car to which are yoked two
mules. On each side of the fountain are altars on which sacrifices and
libations are offered. Round it is the inscription: SALVS VMERITANA, and
at the back are engraved, in confused characters, the words: L. P.

The same author is of opinion that in the time of the Romans "objects of
all kinds in gold and silver were used in Spain to a very great extent,
for, notwithstanding the destruction of ages, we still possess
inscriptions which allude to silver statues, and a large number of
objects in the precious metals exist in museums and private
collections." Doubtless, in the case of articles and household utensils
of smaller size--bowls, dishes, and the like, or ornaments for the
person--the precious metals were made use of freely; but when we hear of
mighty objects as also made of silver, _e.g._ principal portions of a
building, we might do well to bear in mind a couple of old columns that
were standing once not far from Cadiz, on a spot where in the days
preceding history a temple sacred to the Spanish Hercules is rumoured
to have been. Philostratus affirmed these columns to be wrought of solid
gold and silver, mixed together yet in themselves without alloy. Strabo
reduced them modestly to brass; but it was reserved for a curious
Frenchman, the Père Labat, who travelled in Spain in 1705, to warn us
what they really were. "Elles sont sur cette langue de terre, qui joint
l'Isle de Léon à celle de Cadix; car il faut se souvenir que c'est ainsi
qu'on appelle la partie Orientale, et la partie Occidentale de la même
Isle. Il y a environ une lieue de la porte de Terre à ces vénérables
restes de l'antiquité. Nous nous en approchames, croyant justifier les
contes que les Espagnols en débitent. Mais nous fûmes étrangement
surpris de ne pas rencontrer la moindre chose qui pût nous faire
seulement soupçonner qu'elles fussent d'une antiquité un peu
considérable. Nous vimes que ces deux tours rondes, qui n'ont à présent
qu'environ vingt pieds de hauteur sur douze à quinze pieds de diamètre,
étoient d'une maçonnerie fort commune. Leurs portes étoient bouchées, et
nous convinmes tous qu'elles avoient été dans leur jeune tems des
moulins à vent qu'on avoit abandonnés; il n'y a ni inscriptions, ni
bas-reliefs, ni reste de figures quelconques. En un mot, rien qui
méritât notre attention, ni qui recompensât la moindre partie de la
peine que nous avions prise pour les aller voir de près. Car je les
avois vue plus d'une fois du grand chemin, où j'avois passé, et je
devois me contenter. Mais que ne fait-on pas quand on est curieux, et
aussi des[oe]uvré que je l'étois alors."

Many of the usages of Roman Spain descended to the Visigoths. The jewels
of this people manifest the double influence of Rome and of Byzantium,
and the latter influenced in its turn from Eastern sources. We learn
from that extraordinary encyclopædia of early mediæval Spanish lore--the
_Etymologies_ of Isidore of Beja--that the Visigothic women decked
themselves with earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, set with precious
stones of fabulous price. Leovigild is stated by the same writer to have
been the first of the Visigothic princes to use the insignia of royalty.
One of his coins (engraved in Florez) represents him with an imperial
crown surmounted by a cross resembling that of the Byzantines. Coins of
a similar design, and also bearing the imperial crown, were minted at
Toledo, Cordova, or Merida, in the reigns of Chindaswint, Wamba,
Ervigius, and Egica.

But the true fountain-head of all our modern knowledge respecting the
jewellery of Visigothic Spain is in the wonderful crosses, crowns, and
other ornaments discovered in 1858 upon the site of some old Christian
temple, two leagues distant from Toledo. These objects, known
collectively as "the treasure of Guarrazar," were stumbled on by certain
peasants after a heavy storm had washed away a quantity of earth. Some
were destroyed upon the spot; others were sold to the Toledo
silversmiths and melted down by these barbarians of our day; but
fortunately the greater part remained intact, or very nearly so. There
were in all, composed exclusively of gold and precious stones, eleven
crowns, two crosses containing legible inscriptions, fragments such as
the arms of a processional cross, and many single stones which time had
doubtless separated from the crosses or the crowns.[6]

  [6] There is also in the Archæological Museum at Madrid a small
      collection of what has been described as Visigothic jewellery,
      consisting of a handsome _phalera_, necklaces, finger-rings, and
      earrings. Most of these objects were found at Elche in 1776. The
      _Museo Español de Antigüedades_ published a full description by
      Florencio Janer. Their interest is by no means as great as that of
      the treasure of Guarrazar, nor is the date of their production
      definitely ascertained. From various details I suspect that many
      of them may be purely Roman.

Part of this treasure passed in some mysterious way to France, and is
now in the Cluny Museum at Paris. The rest is in the Royal Armoury at
Madrid. Paris can boast possession of nine of the crowns; Madrid, of
two, together with a fragment of a third--this latter of a balustrade or
basket pattern. Five of the nine crowns preserved at Paris are fashioned
of simple hoops of gold. The most important of the five, the crown of
Recceswinth, who ruled in Spain from 650 to 672 A.D., consists of two
hinged semicircles of hollow gold, about a finger's-breadth across the
interspace. It measures just over eight inches in diameter and four
inches in depth. Both the upper and the lower rims are decorated to the
depth of nearly half an inch with a design of four-pointed floral or
semi-floral figures within minute circles. Amador de los Ríos has
recognized this same design in the frieze of certain buildings at
Toledo, and in the edges of mosaic discovered at Italica and Lugo, as
well as in the Balearic Islands. The interstices of this design upon the
crown are filled with a kind of red enamel or glaze, the true nature of
which has not been definitely ascertained. Riaño calls it "a delicate
ornamentation of _cloisonné_ work, which encloses a substance resembling
red glass." The centre of the crown is filled with three rows of large
stones, principally pearls and sapphires. There are also several onyxes,
a stone which in those days was held in great esteem. The spaces between
the rows of stones are ornamented with a somewhat rudimentary design of
palm branches, the leaves of which appear to have been filled or
outlined with the kind of red enamel I have spoken of.

This crown is suspended by four gold chains containing each of them five
leaf-shaped links, _percées à jour_. The chains unite at a gold rosette
in the form of a double lily, terminated by a stoutish capital of
rock-crystal. This in its turn is capped by another piece of crystal
holding the final stem of gold which served as a hook for hanging up the
crown. Suspended from the gold rosette by a long chain is a handsome
cross, undoubtedly of more elaborate workmanship, studded with union
pearls and monster sapphires. Amador believed this ornament to be a
brooch. If this were so it is, of course, improperly appended here.
Twenty-four gold chains hang from the lower border of the crown,
concluding in pyriform sapphires of large size. Each sapphire is
surmounted by a small, square frame of gold containing coloured glass,
and above this, in each of three-and-twenty of the chains, is one of
the golden letters forming the inscription, [cross] RECCESVINTHVS REX

Besides this crown there are at Paris--

(1) A similar though slighter crown, the body of which is studded with
fifty-four magnificent stones. A cross, now kept apart in the same
collection, is thought by Spanish experts to have once been pendent from
the crown. If so, the latter was perhaps presented to the sanctuary by
one Sonnica, probably a Visigothic magnate, and not a woman, as the
termination of the name induced some foreign antiquaries to suppose. The
cross is thus inscribed:--
                                 IN DI
                        OFFERET   ___   SONNICA

  [7] The last word is commonly believed to be the name of a
      place--_Sorbaces_. There has been much discussion as to its

(2) Three crowns of plain design consisting of hoops of gold with
primitive _repoussé_ decoration, and, in the case of one, with precious

(3) Four crowns, each with a pendent cross. The pattern is a basket-work
or set of balustrades of thin gold hollow plates (not, as Riaño stated,
massive) with precious stones about the intersections of the bars or
meshes, and others hanging from the lower rim. Three of these crowns
have three rows or tiers of what I call the balustrade; the other crown
has four.

The custom of offering votive crowns to Christian temples was taken by
the emperors of Constantinople from heathen peoples of the eastern
world. In Spain this custom, introduced by Recared, outlived by many
years the ruin of the Visigothic monarchy--survived, in fact, until the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Thus in 891 Alfonso the Third
presented to the monastery of San Adrian and Santa Natalia four crowns
of gold and three of silver, while just a hundred years afterwards
Ordoño the Second presented three silver crowns to the monastery of
Samos. Other crowns were offered by the prelates and the secular

Returning to the crowns of Guarrazar, there has been great controversy
as to whether these were worn upon the head. Some experts think they
must have been so worn; and in this case the rings upon the rim, through
which the chains are passed, would seem to have been added on the
presentation of these objects to the sanctuary. Lasteyrie, on the other
hand, considered that the crowns were merely votive and were never meant
for personal use, arguing that the rings were fixed about the border
from the very moment when the crowns were made;[8] but Amador
ingeniously replied to this by pointing out that in a few of the old
Castilian coins--for instance, one of Sancho the Third--the crown, with
rings about its rim, is actually upon the monarch's head. It is
possible, adds the same authority, that these were old votive crowns
proceeding from some church, although he thinks it still more likely
that they were fashioned with the rings attached to them. We should
remember, too, the hinge which serves to open and close the body of
these crowns. It is difficult to guess the purpose of this hinge, unless
it were to fit the crown more comfortably on the head.

  [8] _Description du trésor de Guarrazar_.

Of that portion of the treasure of Guarrazar which has remained at
Madrid (Plate i.), the most important object is the votive crown of King
Swinthila, son of Recared, and described as "one of the most illustrious
and unlucky princes that ever occupied the throne of Atawulf." This
crown measures nine inches in diameter by two and a half in height. It
consists of thin gold plates united at the edge, leaving, between the
inner and the outer side, a hollow space about a quarter of an inch
across. The exterior is divided into a central horizontal hoop or band
between two others, somewhat narrower, at the top and bottom, these last
being slightly raised above the level of the third. A triple row of
precious stones, amounting to one hundred and twenty-five pearls and
sapphires in the entire crown, surrounds the outer surface of the same,
the central band or zone of which contains besides, wrought in
_repoussé_ on the hoop, a simple circular device wherein each centre is
a sapphire or a pearl, though many of these have fallen from their
setting. The spaces which describe these circles are superposed on what
looks like a red enamel retaining at this moment all or nearly all its
pristine brightness of twelve hundred years ago. This substance was
believed by French investigators to be a coloured glass or paste,[9]
but Amador, after protracted chemical experiments, declared it to be
layers of cornelian. Some of these layers have fallen from their grip,
and if the crown be stirred are heard to move within. It is worth
remarking, too, that the fillets which form the setting of the precious
stones were made apart and welded afterwards; nor are these settings
uniform in shape, but tally in each instance with the outline of the

  [9] "_Ce que je puis affirmer, après l'examen le plus minutieux, c'est
      que la matière qui fait le fond de cette riche ornementation est
      réellement du verre._"--Lasteyrie, supported by Sommerard.

                            [Illustration: I
                         TREASURE OF GUARRAZAR
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

The chains which served for hanging up the crown are four in number. As
in the crown of Recceswinth, each of them is composed of four _repoussé_
cinquefoil links adorned along their edge with small gold beads minutely
threaded on a wire and fastened on by fusing. The chains converge into
an ornament shaped like two lilies pointing stem to stem, so that the
lower is inverted, although they are divided by a piece of faceted rock
crystal.[10] Four gems are hung from either lily, and issuing from the
uppermost of these a strong gold hook attaches to the final length of

  [10] "In Spain," said Bowles (_Hist. Nat. de Esp._, p. 498), "are found
       two species of rock crystal. The one, occurring in clusters, are
       transparent, six-sided, and always have their source in rocks.
       There are great quantities all over the kingdom, and at Madrid
       they are found near the hills of San Isidro. The other species are
       found singly, and are rounded like a pebble. I have seen them from
       the size of a filbert to that of my fist. Some were covered with a
       thin, opaque integument.... The river Henares abounds with these
       crystals, and as it passes San Fernando, at two leagues' distance
       from Madrid, sweeps some of them along which are the size of the
       largest ones at Strasburg, though very few are perfect."

Possibly the chain and cross now hanging through the circuit of the
crown were not originally part of it. This cross is most remarkable. It
has four arms of equal length, gracefully curved, and is wrought of
plates of gold in duplicate, fastened back to back by straps of gold
along the edges. The centre holds a piece of crystal in the midst of
pearls and gold bead work threaded on a wire of the same metal and
attached by fusion. Several fairly large stones are hung from the
lateral and lower arms of the cross by small gold chains.

The letters hanging from Swinthila's crown are cut and punched from thin
gold plates. Their decoration is a zigzag ornament backed by the same
mysterious crimson substance as the circular devices on the hoop.
Hanging from the letters are pearls, sapphires, and several imitation
stones--particularly imitation emeralds--in paste.

The cross before the letters points to a custom of that period. We find
it also on Swinthila's coins, and those of other Visigothic kings. Of
the letters themselves twelve have been recovered, thus:--

                    [cross] SV  TI  NV  REX  OFF  T

The chains, however, or fragments of them, amount to
twenty-three--precisely (if we count the cross) the number needed to
complete the dedication.[11]

  [11] A veritable cryptogram awaited the decipherers of these legends.
       When King Swinthila's crown was brought to light, four of the
       letters only were in place, thus:--

                 [cross] ...... I ... V . R .... F ....

       Eight of the others were recovered shortly after; two more, an E
       and L, appeared at a later date, and eight continued to be missing.
       The inscription dangling from the crown of Recceswinth arrived at
       Paris in this eloquent form:--

                    [cross] RRCCEEFEVINSTVSETORHFEX

The Royal Armoury contains another crown, a great deal smaller and less
ornamented than Swinthila's. The body of this crown, which was presented
by the finder to the late Queen Isabella the Second, is just a hoop of
gold, two inches deep and five across, hinged like the more elaborate
and larger crowns, but merely decorated with a fine gold spiral at the
rims, a zigzag pattern in _repoussé_, and a rudely executed scale-work.
The dedication on this cross is in the centre of the hoop, and says--
                 [cross] OFFERET MVNVSCVLVM SCO STEFANO
                           THEODOSIVS ABBA

We do not know who Theodosius was, but Amador, judging from the simple
decoration of this crown, believes him to have been a priest of lower
rank, and by no means a dignitary of the Visigothic church.

A votive cross also forms part of this collection, which has a simple
sunk device along the edges and seven pendent stones, two of these
hanging from each of the lateral arms, and three, a little larger, from
the lower arm. The inscription, which is rough in the extreme, appears
to be the work of some illiterate craftsman, and has been interpreted
with difficulty:--
                               LUCETIUS E

This reading gives an extra letter at the end, which may be construed as
_Episcopus_--or anything else, according to the student's fancy.

I may close my notice of this collection in the Royal Armoury at Madrid
by drawing attention to a greenish, semi-opaque stone, three-quarters of
an inch in height. It is engraved _en creux_ upon two facets with the
scene of the Annunciation. The gem itself is commonly taken for an
emerald, of which, referring to the glyptic art among the Visigoths, the
learned Isidore remarked that "_Sculpentibus quoque gemmas nulla gratior
oculorum refectio est._" I shall insert a sketch of the cutting on this
stone as a tailpiece to the chapter, and here append a full description.
"The Virgin listens standing to the Archangel Gabriel, who communicates
to her the will of the Almighty. Before her is a jar, from which
projects the stem of a lily, emblematic of the chaste and pure, that
reaches to her breast. Her figure is completely out of measurement. Upon
her head appears to be a _nimbus_ or _amiculum_; her breast is covered
with a broad and folded _fascia_, enveloping her arms, while her tunic,
reaching to the ground, conceals one of her feet. The angel in the
cutting on the stone is at the Virgin's right. His attitude is that of
one who is conveying tidings. Large wings folded upon his shoulders and
extending nearly to the ground are fitted to his form, better drawn and
livelier than the Virgin's. He executes his holy mission with his right
hand lifted. His dress is a tunic in small folds, over which is a cloak
fastened by a brooch and fitting closely. Upon his head he wears a kind
of helmet."[12]

  [12] Amador de los Ríos, _El Arte latino-bizantino en España y las
       Coronas Visigodas de Guarrazar_, p. 121.

The drawing of this design upon the stone is most bizarre and barbarous;
for the Virgin's head is so completely disproportioned that it forms the
one-third part of her entire person.

The merit of all this Visigothic gem or gold and silver work has been
extolled too highly by the French and Spanish archæologists.[13] It is,
however, greatly interesting. Rudely and ponderously magnificent, it
tells us of a people who as yet were almost wholly strangers to the true
artistic sense. Such were the Visigoths and the Spaniards of the
Visigothic era, of all of whom I have observed elsewhere that "serfdom
was the distinguishing mark of the commons; arrogance, of the nobility;
avarice, and ambition of temporal and political power, of the clergy;
regicide and tumult, of the crown."[14] These crowns of Guarrazar
proclaim to us in plainest language that the volume of the stones, and
showiness and glitter of the precious metal were accorded preference of
every other factor--the _pondus auri_ preference of the _manus
artificis_. We gather, too, from documents and chronicles and popular
tradition, that the Visigothic princes, as they set apart their stores
of treasure in secluded caves or in the strong rooms of their palaces,
were ever captivated and corrupted by the mere intrinsic worth in
opposition to the nobler and æsthetic value of the craftsmanship.

  [13] _E.g._ Sommerard: "_Une collection sans égale de joyaux les plus
       précieux qui, par la splendeur de la matière, le mérite de
       l'exécution, et plus encore, peut être, par leur origine
       incontestable et par leur étonnante conservation, surpassent tout
       ce qui possédent d'analogue les collections publiques de l'Europe
       et les trésors les plus renommés de l'Italie_."

  [14] _Toledo and Madrid_; p. 16.

Thus we are told that Sisenand owned a plate of gold (no word is said of
its design or style) five hundred pounds in weight, proceeding from the
royal treasure of his race, and which, long years before, had been
presented by the nobleman Accio to King Turismund. When Sisenand was
conspiring to dethrone Swinthila, he called on Dagobert the king of
France to come to his support, and promised him, as recompense, this
golden plate. The French king lent his help forthwith, and then, as
soon as Turismund was seated on the throne of Spain, despatched an
embassy to bring the coveted vessel to his court. Sisenand fulfilled his
word and placed the envoys in possession of the plate, but since his
subjects, rising in rebellion, wrenched it from their power and kept it
under custody, he compensated Dagobert by a money payment of two hundred
thousand _sueldos_.[15]

  [15] _Ajbar Machmua_. Lafuente y Alcántara's edition; p. 27, note.

Innumerable narratives and legends dwell upon the treasure taken by the
Moors on entering Spain. Such as relate the battle of the Guadalete, or
the Lake of Janda (as it is also called by some authorities), agree that
when the fatal day was at an end the riderless steed of Roderick was
found imbedded in the mire, wearing a saddle of massive gold adorned
with emeralds and rubies. According to Al-Makkari, that luckless
monarch's boots were also made of gold studded with precious stones,
while the Muslim victors, stripping the Visigothic dead, identified the
nobles by the golden rings upon their fingers, those of a less exalted
rank by their silver rings, and the slaves by their rings of copper. The
widow of the fallen king was also famous for her stores of jewellery.
Her name was Eila or Egilona (Umm-Asim of the Moors), but she was known
besides as "the lady of the beautiful necklaces." After being made a
prisoner she was given in marriage to the young prince Abd-al-Azis, who
grew to love her very greatly, and received from her, "seeing that she
still retained sufficient of her royal wealth," the present of a crown.

Muza, on returning to the East, is said to have drawn near to Damascus
with a train of thirty waggons full of Spanish silver, gold, and
precious stones. Tarik ben Ziyed, marching in triumph through the land,
secured at Cordova, Amaya, and other towns and capitals, enormous store
of "pearls, arms, dishes, silver, gold, and other jewels in
unprecedented number." One object, in particular, is mentioned with
insistency by nearly all the chronicles, both Mussulman and Christian.
Quoting from the _Pearl of Marvels_ of Ibn Alwardi, this was "the table
which had belonged to God's prophet, Solomon (health be to both of
them). It was of green emeralds, and nothing fairer had been ever seen
before. Its cups were golden and its plates of precious jewels, one of
them specked with black and white." All manner of strange things are
said about this table, though most accounts describe it as consisting of
a _single_ emerald. Perhaps it was of malachite, or of the bright green
serpentine stone extracted formerly as well as nowadays from the
Barranco de San Juan at Granada, and several other spots in Spain. Bayan
Almoghreb says it was of gold mixed with a little silver and surrounded
by three gold rings or collars; the first containing pearls, the second
rubies, and the third emeralds. Al-Makkari describes it as "green, with
its 365 feet and borders of a single emerald." Nor is it known for
certain where this "table" fell into the hands of Tarik. Probably he
found it in the principal Christian temple at Toledo--that is to say,
the Basilica of Santa María. Ibn Alwardi says that in the _aula regia_,
or palace of the Visigothic kings, the lancers of the Moorish general
broke down a certain door, discovering "a matchless quantity of gold and
silver plate," together with the "table." Doubtless this strong room was
the same referred to in the following lines. "It was for ever closed;
and each time that a Christian king began to reign he added to its door
a new and powerful fastening. In this way as many as four and twenty
padlocks were gathered on the door."

However, the most explicit and informative of all these ancient authors
is Ibn Hayyan, who says; "The table had its origin in the days of
Christian rulers. It was the custom in those times that when a rich man
died he should bequeath a legacy to the churches. Proceeding from the
value of these gifts were fashioned tables, thrones, and other articles
of gold and silver, whereon the clergy bore the volumes of their gospel
when they showed them at their ceremonies. These objects they would also
set upon their altars to invest them with a further splendour by the
ornament thereof. For this cause was the table at Toledo, and the
[Visigothic] monarchs vied with one another in enriching it, each of
them adding somewhat to the offerings of his predecessor, till it
surpassed all other jewels of its kind and grew to be renowned
exceedingly. It was of fine gold studded with emeralds, pearls, and
rubies, in such wise that nothing similar had ever been beheld. So did
the kings endeavour to increase its richness, seeing that this city was
their capital, nor did they wish another to contain more splendid
ornaments or furniture. Thus was the table resting on an altar of the
church, and here the Muslims came upon it, and the fame of its
magnificence spread far abroad."

Another chronicle affirms that Tarik found the "table" at a city called
Almeida, now perhaps Olmedo. "He reached Toledo, and leaving a
detachment there, advanced to Guadalajara and the [Guadarrama]
mountains. These he crossed by the pass which took his name, and
reached, upon the other side, a city called Almeida or _The Table_, for
there had been discovered the table of Solomon the son of David, and the
feet and borders of it, numbering three hundred and sixty-five, were of
green emerald."

In any case this venerated jewel gave considerable trouble to its
captors. When envious Muza followed up the march of Tarik, his
lieutenant, he demanded from him all the spoil, and in particular the
ever-famous table. Tarik surrendered this forthwith, but after slyly
wrenching off a leg. Muza perceived the breakage, and inquired for the
missing piece. "I know not," said the other; "'twas thus that I
discovered it." Muza then ordered a new leg of gold to be made for the
table, as well as a box of palm leaves, in which it was deposited.
"This," says Ibn Hayyan, "is known to be one of the reasons why Tarik
worsted Muza in the dispute they had before the Caliph as to their
respective conquests." So it proved. Ibn Abdo-l-Haquem[16] relates that
Muza appeared before the Caliph Al-Walid and produced the table. Tarik
interposed and said that he himself had taken it, and not the other
leader. "Give it into my hands," the Caliph answered, "that I may see if
any piece of it be wanting," and found, indeed, that one of its feet was
different from the rest. "Ask Muza," interrupted Tarik, "for the missing
foot, and if he answer from his heart, then shall his words be truth."
Accordingly Al-Walid inquired for the foot, and Muza made reply that he
had found the table as it now appeared; but Tarik with an air of triumph
drew forth the missing piece which he himself had broken off, and said:
"By this shall the Emir of the Faithful recognize that I am speaking
truth; that I it was who found the table." And thereupon Al-Walid
credited his words and loaded him with gifts.

  [16] _Account of the Conquest of Spain_, published, with an English
       translation and notes, by John Harris Jones. London, 1858.

Comparing the statements of these writers, we may be certain that the
"table" was a kind of desk of Visigothic or, more probably, Byzantine
workmanship, for holding the gospels on the feast-days of the national
church. Probably, too, seeing that a palm-leaf box was strong enough to
keep it in, its size was inconsiderable. Its value, on the statement of
Ibn Abdo-l-Haquem, was two hundred thousand _dinares_.

The sum of my remarks upon the Visigothic jewel-work is this.
Distinguished by a coarse though costly splendour, we find in it a
mingled Roman and Byzantine source, although it was upon the whole
inferior to these styles, being essentially, as Amador observes, "an
imitative and decadent art." Yet it did not succumb before the Moors,
but lurked for refuge in the small Asturian monarchy, and later, issuing
thence, extended through the kingdom of León into Castile. We find its
clearest characteristics in such objects as the Cross of Angels and the
Cross of Victory. Then, later still, it is affected and regenerated by
the purely oriental art of the invader; and lastly, till the wave of the
Renaissance floods the western world, by Gothic influences from across
the Pyrenees.

A similar sketch may be applied to other arts and crafts of
Spain--particularly furniture and architecture.

                           [Illustration: II
                          THE CROSS OF ANGELS
                         _(Oviedo Cathedral)_]

The pious or superstitious kings and magnates of this land have always
taken pride in adding (at the instigation of the clergy) to the treasure
of her churches and cathedrals. Such gifts include all kinds of
sumptuous apparel for the priesthood; chasubles and dalmatics heavily
embroidered with the precious metals, gold or silver crowns and crosses,
paxes,[17] chalices and patines, paraments and baldaquinos, reliquaries
in every shape and style and size, and figures of the Virgin--such as
those of Lugo, Seville, Astorga, and Pamplona--consisting of elaborate
silver-work upon a wooden frame. Visitors to Spain, from leisurely
Rosmithal five hundred years ago to time-economizing tourists of our
century, have been continually astonished at the prodigal richness of
her sanctuaries. Upon this point I quote a typical extract from the
narrative of Bertaut de Rouen. "The treasure of this church," he said of
Montserrat, "is wonderfully precious, and particularly so by reason of
two objects that belong to it. The first is a crown of massive gold of
twenty pounds in weight, covered with pearls, with ten stars radiating
from it also loaded with large pearls and diamonds of extraordinary
value. This crown took forty years to make, and is valued at two
millions of gold money. The second object is a gold crown entirely
covered with emeralds, most of them of an amazing size. Many are worth
five thousand crowns apiece. The reliquary, too, is of extraordinary
richness, as also a service of gold plate studded with pearls, donated
by the late emperor for use in celebrating Mass."

  [17] The pax or osculatory used in celebrating High Mass is commonly,
       says Rosell de Torres, "a plate of gold or ivory, or other metal
       or material, according to the time and circumstances of its
       manufacture. The priest who celebrates the Mass kisses it after
       the _Agnus Dei_ and the prayer _ad petendam pacem_, and the
       acolytes present it, as a sign of peace and brotherly union, to
       all the other priests who may be present. This usage springs from
       the kiss of peace which was exchanged, prior to receiving the
       communion, between the early Christians in their churches. The pax
       has commonly borne an image of the Virgin with the Holy Infant,
       the face of Christ, or else the Agnus Dei." Its Latin name was the

Similar accounts to the above exist in quantities, relating to every
part of Spain and every period of her history.

Reverting to the earlier Middle Ages, a few conspicuous objects thus
presented to the Spanish Church require to be briefly noted here. Famous
chalices are those of Santo Domingo de Silos (eleventh century), made to
the order of Abbot Domingo in honour of San Sebastian, and showing the
characteristic Asturian filigree-work; and of San Isidoro of León, made
in 1101 by order of Urraca Fernandez, sister of the fourth Alfonso. The
latter vessel, inscribed with the dedication of _Urraca Fredinandi_, has
an agate cup and foot. A remarkably handsome silver-gilt chalice and
patine (thirteenth century) belong to Toledo cathedral. The height of
this chalice is thirteen inches, and the diameter of its bowl, which has
a conical shape, eight and a half inches. Inside and out the bowl is
smooth, but midway between the bowl and the foot is a massive knot or
swelling in the stem, and on the knot the emblematic lion, eagle, bull,
and angel are chiselled in high relief. Below the knot is a ring of
graceful rosettes. The patine which accompanies this chalice measures
twelve inches in diameter. It has upon it, thinly engraved within a
slightly sunk centre with a scalloped edge, the figure of Christ upon
the cross, between the Virgin and St John. This central group of figures
and the border of the plate are each surrounded with a narrow strip of

The cathedral of Valencia has a beautiful and early cup asserted to be
the veritable Holy Grail (_greal_, _garal_, or _gradal_, in the old
Castilian), "of which," wrote Ford with his accustomed irony, "so many
are shown in different orthodox _relicarios_." However this may be, the
chalice of Valencia is particularly handsome. According to Riaño it
consists of "a fine brown sardonyx which is tastefully moulded round the
lip. The base is formed of another inverted sardonyx. These are united
by straps of pure gold. The stem is flanked by handles, which are inlaid
with delicate arabesque in black enamel. Oriental pearls are set round
the base and stem, which alternate with rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
This chalice is a work of the Roman imperial epoch, and the mounts are
of a later date."

A series of Spanish chalices, beginning chronologically with specimens
which date from the early Middle Ages, and terminating with the chalice,
made in 1712, of Santa María la Blanca of Seville, was shown in 1892 at
the Exposición Histórico-Europea of Madrid. Among the finer or most
curious were chalices proceeding from the parish church of Játiva, Las
Huelgas, and Seville cathedral, and the Plateresque chalices of
Calatayud, Granada, and Alcalá de Henares. Another chalice which is
greatly interesting because of the date inscribed on it, is one which
was presented to Lugo cathedral by a bishop of that diocese, Don Garcia
Martinez de Bahamonde (1441-1470). The workmanship, though prior to the
sixteenth century, is partly Gothic. An article by José Villa-amil y
Castro, dealing with all these chalices, will be found in the _Boletín
de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones_ for April, 1893.

A small exhibition was held at Lugo in August 1896. Here were shown
sixteen chalices, nearly all of them of merit from the point of view of
history or art. Such are the chalice of San Rosendo, proceeding from the
old monastery of Celanova; the Gothic chalices of Tuy cathedral, Lugo
cathedral, Santa María del Lucio, Santa Eulalia de Guilfrei, San Pedro
de Puertomarín, and the Franciscan friars of Santiago; and the chalice
and patine of Cebrero (twelfth century), in which it is said that on a
certain occasion in the fifteenth century the wine miraculously turned
to actual blood, and the Host to actual flesh, in order to convince a
doubting priest who celebrated service.

The Cross of Angels and the Cross of Victory--presents, respectively,
from Alfonso the Chaste and Alfonso the Great--are now preserved at
Oviedo, in the Camara Santa of that stately temple. The former of these
crosses, fancied by credulous people to be the handiwork of
angels--whence its title[18]--was made in A.D. 808. It consists of four
arms of equal length, radiating from a central rosette (Pl. ii.). The
core or _alma_ is of wood covered with a double plate of richly
decorated gold, chased in the finest filigree (indicative already of the
influence of Cordova) and thickly strewn with sapphires, amethysts,
topazes, and cornelians. Other stones hung formerly from six small rings
upon the lower border of the arms. The cross is thus inscribed:--

               _"Susceptum placide maneat hoc in honore Dei
               Offeret Adefonsus humilis servus Xti
               Hoc signo tuetur pius
               Hoc signo vincitur inimicus._

               _Quisquis auferre presumpserit mihi
               Fulmine divino intereat ipse
               Nisi libens ubi voluntas dederit mea
               Hoc opus perfectum est in Era DCCXLVI."_

  [18] This marvel is related by the Monk of Silos. A quotation from
       another of my books is applicable here. "Last year," I wrote in
       1902--(pp. 64, 65 of _Toledo and Madrid: Their Records and
       Romances_)--"the young King Alfonso the Thirteenth paid a visit to
       Oviedo cathedral, and was duly shown the relics and the jewels.
       Among these latter was the 'Cross of the Angels.'

       "'Why is it so called?' inquired the king.

       "'Because,' replied the bishop of the diocese, 'it is said that the
       angels made it to reward King Alfonso the Chaste.'

       "'Well, but,' insisted the young monarch, 'what ground is there for
       thinking so?'

       "'Señor,' replied the prelate, 'none whatever. _The time for
       traditions is passing away._'"

                           [Illustration: III
                          THE CROSS OF VICTORY
                         (_Oviedo Cathedral_)]

The other cross (Pl. iii.) is more than twice as large, and measures
just one yard in height by two feet four and a half inches in width.
Tradition says that the primitive, undecorated wooden core of this cross
was carried against the Moors by King Pelayo. The ornate casing, similar
to that upon the Cross of Angels, was added later, and contains 152 gems
and imitation gems. The following inscription tells us that this casing
was made at the Castle of Gauzon in Asturias, in the year 828:--

          _"Susceptum placide maneat hoc in honore Dei, quod offerent
          Famuli Christi Adefonsus princeps et Scemaena Regina;
          Quisquis auferre hoc donoria nostra presumpserit
          Fulmine divino intereat ipse.
          Hoc opus perfectum et concessum est
          Santo Salvatori Oventense sedis.
          Hoc signo tuetur pius, hoc vincitur inimicus
          Et operatum est in castello Gauzon anno regni nostri._
                              XLII. _discurrente Era_ DCCCLXVI."

These crosses are processional. Others which were used for the same
purpose are those of San Sebastián de Serrano (Galicia), San Munio de
Veiga, Santa María de Guillar (Lugo), San Mamed de Fisteos, and Santa
María de Arcos. The five preceding crosses are of bronze; those of
Baamorto and San Adriano de Lorenzana are respectively of silver, and of
wood covered with silver plates, and all were shown at the Lugo
exhibition I have spoken of.

Besides the Cross of Victory or Pelayo, and the Cross of Angels,
interesting objects preserved at Oviedo are a small diptych presented by
Bishop Don Gonzalo (A.D. 1162-1175), and the _Arca Santa_ used for
storing saintly relics. This beautiful chest, measuring three feet nine
inches and a half in length by twenty-eight inches and a half in height,
is considered by Riaño to be of Italian origin, and to date from between
the tenth and twelfth centuries.

Another handsome box belonging to the cathedral of Astorga was once upon
a time the property of Alfonso the Third and his queen Jimena, whose
names it bears--ADEFONSVS REX: SCEMENA REGINA. The workmanship is
consequently of the close of the ninth or the beginning of the tenth
century. The material is wood covered with _repoussé_ silver plates on
which are figured angels and birds, together with the eagle and the ox
as emblems of the evangelists John and Luke, whose names are also to be
read upon the casket.

Next to the sword, no object in the history of mediæval Spain was more
profoundly popular or venerated than the _relicario_. This in its
primitive form was just a small receptacle, such as a vase or urn of
gold or silver, ivory or crystal, used by the laity or clergy for
treasuring bones, or hairs, or other relics of the Virgin, or the
Saviour, or the saints. In private families a holy tooth, or toe, or
finger thus preserved would often, as though it were some Eastern
talisman, accompany its credulous possessor to the battlefield.

As time went on, the urn or vase was commonly replaced by chests or
caskets made by Moorish captives, or by tranquil and respected Moorish
residents within the territory of the Christian,[19] or wrested from
the infidel in war and offered by the Spanish kings or nobles to their
churches. Here they were kept on brackets, or suspended near the altar
by a chain[20] of silver, gold, or iron. Among the Moors themselves such
chests and caskets served, according to their richness or capacity, for
storing perfumes, clothes, or jewels, or as a present from a bridegroom
to his bride; and since the sparsely-furnished Oriental room contains no
kind of wardrobe, cabinet, or chest of drawers, their use in Moorish
parts of Spain was universal.

  [19] In many towns a hearty friendship sprang up between the Spaniard
       and the Moor. This was a natural consequence in places where the
       vanquished had a better education than the victor. The warrior
       population of both races might be struggling on the field at the
       same moment that their craftsmen were fraternizing in the workshop.
       Ferdinand the First and Alfonso the Sixth were particularly lenient
       in their usage of the dominated Muslim. Thus, the former of these
       princes recognised the Moorish townspeople of Sena as his vassals,
       while those of Toledo were freely allowed by Alfonso to retain
       their worship and their mosque.

  [20]       "_Fallaron ay de marfil arquetas muy preçiadas
             Con tantas de noblezas que non podrian ser contadas
             Fueron para San Pedro las arquetas donadas;
             Están en este dia en el su altar asentadas._"
                           Poem of FERRAN GONZALVEZ (13th century).

A typical Moorish casket of this kind (Plate iv.) is now in the
cathedral of Gerona. It measures fifteen inches in length by nine
across, fastens with a finely ornamented band and clasp of bronze, and
is covered with thin silver-gilt plates profusely decorated with a bead
and floral pattern superposed upon a box of non-decaying
wood--possibly larch or cedar. A Cufic inscription along the lower
part of the lid was formerly interpreted as follows:--

"In the name of God. (May) the blessing of God, prosperity and fortune
and perpetual felicity be (destined) for the servant of God, Alhakem,
Emir of the Faithful, because he ordered (this casket) to be made for
Abdul Walid Hischem, heir to the throne of the Muslims. It was finished
by the hands of Hudzen, son of Bothla."

                           [Illustration: IV
                             MOORISH CASKET
                         (_Gerona Cathedral_)]

It is supposed, however, that the part of this inscription which
contains the maker's name was rendered incorrectly by Riaño, who
followed, on this point, Saavedra, Fita, and other archæologists; and
that the casket was made to the order of Djaudar, as a gift to the heir
to the throne, Abulwalid Hischem, the actual workmen being two slaves,
Bedr and Tarif. That is to say, the name Hudzen is now replaced by
Djaudar, whom Dozy mentions in his history of the Mussulman domination
in Spain, and who is known to have been a eunuch high in favour with
Alhakem, Hischem's father. These princes ruled at Cordova in the latter
half of the tenth century and the beginning of the eleventh.

Spanish-Moorish caskets (_arquetas_) of ivory, silver, or inlaid work,
are also preserved in the South Kensington Museum, the Archæological
Museum at Madrid, and the cathedrals of Braga, Tortosa, and Oviedo.
There is no reason to doubt that all these boxes were made in Spain,
although an Eastern and particularly Persian influence is very
noticeable in their scheme of decoration.

Two silver caskets which were once in the church of San Isidoro at León
are now in the Madrid Museum. The smaller and plainer of the two,
elliptical in shape and measuring five inches in length by two inches
and a half in depth, is covered with a leaf and stem device outlined in
black enamel. A Cufic inscription of a private and domestic import, also
picked out with black enamel, runs along the top. The lid is ornamented,
like the body of the box, with leaves and stems surrounded by a Grecian
border, and fastens with a heart-shaped clasp secured by a ring.

The other, more elaborate, and larger box measures eight inches long by
five in height. In shape it is a parallelogram, with a deeply bevelled
rather than--as Amador describes it--a five-sided top. Bands of a simple
winding pattern outlined in black enamel on a ground of delicate
niello-work run round the top and body of the casket. The central band
upon the lower part contains a Cufic inscription of slight interest.
Some of the letters terminate in leaves. The bevelled lid is covered
with groups of peacocks--symbolic, among Mohammedans, of eternal
life--outlined in black enamel. These birds are eight in all, gathered
in two groups of four about the large and overlapping hinges. Four
leaves, trifoliate, in _repoussé_, one beneath the other, decorate the
clasp, which opens out into a heart containing, also in _repoussé_, two
inverted peacocks looking face to face. Between the birds this heart
extremity is pierced for the passage of a ring.

Amador de los Ríos considers that both caskets were made between the
years 1048 and 1089.

The use of coloured enamel in the manufacture of these boxes dates, or
generally so, from somewhat later. Although the history of enamelling in
Spain is nebulous and contradictory in the extreme, we know that caskets
in _champlevé_ enamel on a copper ground, with figures either flat or
hammered in a bold relief, became abundant here. Two, from the convent
of San Marcos at León, and dating from the thirteenth century, are now
in the Madrid Museum. Labarte says that the lids of these enamelled
reliquaries were flat until the twelfth century, and of a gable form

                            [Illustration: V
                  (_11th Century. Museum of Burgos_)]

Other old objects--boxes, triptyches, statuettes, incensories,
book-covers, crucifixes, and processional crosses--partly or wholly
covered with enamel, belong or recently belonged to the Marquises of
Castrillo and Casa-Torres, the Count of Valencia de Don Juan, and Señor
Escanciano. All, or nearly all, of these are thought to have proceeded
from Limoges (Pl. v.). _Champlevé_ enamel is also on the tiny "Crucifix
of the Cid" (Pl. vi.) at Salamanca, as well as on the Virgin's throne in
the gilt bronze statuette of the Virgin de la Vega at San Esteban in the
same city.[21] Of this image, although it properly belongs to another
heading of my book, I think it well to give a reproduction here (Plate
vii.). I will also mention, in spite of its presumably foreign origin,
the enamelled altar-front of San Miguel de Excelsis in Navarre--a small
sanctuary constructed by a mediæval cavalier who, by an accident
occasioned by the dark, murdered his father and mother in lieu of his
wife.[22] This altar-front, conspicuously Byzantine in its style,
measures four feet three inches high by seven feet five inches long, and
is now employed as the _retablo_ of the little church which stands in
solitary picturesqueness on the lofty mountain-top of Aralar. The
figures, coloured in relief upon a yellowish enamel ground, are those of
saints, and of a monarch and his queen--possibly King Sancho the Great,
who is believed to have been the donor of the ornament. If this surmise
be accurate, the front would date from the eleventh century.

  [21] Together with the statuette of Ujué in Navarre, the Virgen de la
       Vega of Salamanca may be classed as one of the earliest "local
       Virgins" of this country. Sometimes these images are of wood alone,
       sometimes of wood beneath a silver covering, sometimes, as that of
       the Claustro de León, of stone. But whatever may be the substance,
       the characteristics are the same:--Byzantine rigidness and
       disproportion, the crude and primitive anatomy of artists only just
       emerging from the dark. The Virgin and Child of Santa María la Real
       of Hirache in Navarra may be instanced as another of the series.
       This image dates from late in the twelfth or early in the
       thirteenth century, although a crown and nimbus have been added
       subsequently. It measures rather more than a yard in height, and
       consists of wood covered with silver plates, except the hands and
       face, which are painted. The Virgin, seated, holds the Infant with
       her left arm; in her right hand is an apple. A kind of stole
       bearing the following inscription in Gothic letter falls upon the
       Infant's breast; "_Puer natus est nobis, venite adoremus. Ego sum
       alpha et omega, primus et novissimus Dominus._" Before this
       statuette the King Don Sancho is stated to have offered his

  [22] I quote this legend in Appendix A.

I have said that the history of Spanish enamel-work is both confused and
scanty. The subject in its general aspects has been studied by M.
Roulin, whose judgments will be found in the _Revue de l'Art Ancien et
Moderne_, and in his article, "Mobilier liturgique d'Espagne," published
in the _Revue de l'Art Chrétien_ for 1903. M. Roulin believes the
altar-front of San Miguel in Excelsis to be a Limoges product, not
earlier than the first half of the thirteenth century.

Ramírez de Arellano declares that no enamelling at all was done in Spain
before the invasion of the Almohades. López Ferreiro, who as a priest
had access to the jealously secreted archives of Santiago cathedral,
gives us the names of Arias Perez, Pedro Martinez, Fernan Perez, and
Pedro Pelaez, Galician enamellers who worked at Santiago in the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries. Martin Minguez says that enamelling was done
at Gerona in the fourteenth century, and Moorish enamels were certainly
produced at Cordova and Cuenca from comparatively early in the Middle
Ages. A few obscure workers in enamel are mentioned by Gestoso, in his
_Diccionario de Artistas Sevillanos_, as living at Seville in the
fifteenth century, though, in the entries which refer to them, little is
told us of their lives and nothing of their labours. In the sixteenth
century we obtain a glimpse of two enamellers of Toledo--Lorenzo Marqués
and Andrés Ordoñez, and dating from the same period the Chapter of the
Military Orders of Ciudad Real possesses a silver-gilt _porta-paz_ with
enamelling done at Cuenca. However, our notices of this branch of
Spanish art have yet to be completed.

                           [Illustration: VI
                       "THE CRUCIFIX OF THE CID"
                        (_Salamanca Cathedral_)]

A long array of royal gifts caused, in the olden time, the treasure of
Santiago cathedral to be the richest and most varied in the whole
Peninsula, although at first this see was merely suffragan to Merida.
But early in the twelfth century a scheming bishop, by name Diego
Gelmirez, intrigued at Rome to raise his diocese to the dignity of an
archbishopric. The means by which he proved successful in the end were
far from irreproachable. "Gelmirez," says Ford (vol. ii. p. 666) "was a
cunning prelate, and well knew how to carry his point; he put Santiago's
images and plate into the crucible, and sent the ingots to the Pope."

The original altar-front or parament (_aurea tabula_) was made of solid
gold. This altar-front Gelmirez melted down to steal from it some
hundred ounces of the precious metal for the Pope, donating in its
stead another front of gold and silver mixed, wrought from the remaining
treasure of the sanctuary. Aymerich tells us that the primitive frontal
bore the figure of the Saviour seated on a throne supported by the four
evangelists, blessing with his right hand, and holding in his left the
Book of Life. The four-and-twenty elders (called by quaint Morales
"gentlemen") of the apocalypse were also gathered round the throne, with
musical instruments in their hands, and golden goblets filled with
fragrant essences. At either end of the frontal were six of the
apostles, three above and three beneath, separated by "beautiful
columns" and surrounded by floral decoration. The upper part was thus


And the lower part:--


This early altar-front has disappeared like its predecessor; it is
not known precisely at what time; but both Morales and Medina saw and
wrote about it in the sixteenth century.

                           [Illustration: VII
                        THE "VIRGEN DE LA VEGA"

Another ornament which Aymerich describes, namely, the _baldaquino_ or
_cimborius_, has likewise faded from the eyes of the profane, together
with three bronze caskets covered with enamel, and stated by Morales to
have contained the bones of Saints Silvestre, Cucufate, and Fructuoso.
One of these caskets was existing in the seventeenth century.

The silver lamps were greatly celebrated. Ambrosio de Morales counted
"twenty or more"; but Zepedano made their total mount to fifty-one. The
French invasion brought their number down to three. Three of the oldest
of these lamps had been of huge dimensions, particularly one, a present
from Alfonso of Aragon, which occupied the centre. The shape of it, says
Aymerich, was "like a mighty mortar." Seven was the number of its beaks,
symbolic of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost; and each beak contained a
lamplet fed with oil of myrtles, acorns, or olives.

All kinds of robberies and pilferings have thus been perpetrated with
the once abundant wealth of Santiago.[23] The jealous care which keeps
the copious archives inaccessible to all the outside world is in itself
of sinister significance. It has transpired, furthermore, that many of
the bishops have "exchanged," or simply stolen, portions of the holy
property. Besides these clerical dilapidations, a cartload, weighing
half a ton, was carried off by Marshal Ney, though some was subsequently
handed back, "because the spoilers feared the hostility of the
_Plateros_, the silversmiths who live close to the cathedral, and by
whom many workmen were employed in making little graven images,
teraphims and lares, as well as medallions of Santiago, which pilgrims

  [23] A recent instance, not devoid of humour, is as follows. About three
       years ago, a silly rogue removed and carried off the crown from
       Santiago's head; but since the actual jewel is only worn on solemn
       festivals, his prize turned out to be a worthless piece of tin. An
       odd removal of the treasure of another Spanish church was noted by
       the traveller Bowles. "The curate of the place, a worthy fellow who
       put me up in his house, assured me that a detachment of a legion of
       locusts entered the church, ate up the silk clothes upon the
       images, and gnawed the varnish on the altars." Perhaps these
       adamantine-stomached insects have assailed, from time to time, the
       gold and silver plate of Santiago.

  [24] Ford, _Handbook_, vol. ii. p. 671. I briefly notice, in Appendix B,
       the Santiago jet-work, also practised by these craftsmen.

                          [Illustration: VIII
                     SAINT JAMES IN PILGRIM'S DRESS
      (_Silver-gilt statuette; 15th Century. Santiago Cathedral_)]

Among the gifts of value which this temple yet preserves are the ancient
processional cross presented by the third Alfonso in the year of
grace 874,[25] and the hideous fourteenth-century reliquary shaped to
represent the head of James Alfeo, and containing (as it is believed)
this very relic (Pl. viii.). I make a reservation here, because the
Chapter have forbidden the reliquary to be opened. In either case,
whether the head be there or not, heads of the same apostle are affirmed
to be at Chartres, Toulouse, and other places. Similarly, discussing
these Hydra-headed beings of the Bible and the hagiology, Villa-amil y
Castro (_El Tesoro de la Catedral de Santiago_, published in the _Museo
Español de Antigüedades_) recalls to us the ten authenticated and
indubitable mazzards of Saint John the Baptist.

  [25] To lend my censures further cogency, I leave this statement as I
       set it down some weeks ago; since when, on picking up a Spanish
       newspaper, I read the following telegram:--

                      "THEFT IN SANTIAGO CATHEDRAL

                                 "SANTIAGO, _May 7th, 1906_ (9.15 _p.m._).

       "This morning, when the canon in charge of the Chapel of the Relics
       unlocked the door, he was surprised to observe that some of these
       were lying in confusion on the floor. Fearing that a theft had been
       committed, he sent for the dean and others of the clergy, who had
       examination made, and found the following objects to be missing:--

       _"A gold cross, presented by King Alfonso the Great, when he
       attended the consecration of this temple in the year 874._

       "Another cross, of silver, dating from the fifteenth century--a
       present from Archbishop Spinola.

       "An aureole of the fifteenth century, studded with precious stones
       belonging to a statuette of the apostle Santiago.

       "The authorities were summoned and at once began their search.

       "They find that two of the thick iron bars of the skylight in the
       ceiling of the cloister have been filed through. This cloister has
       a skylight which opens upon the chapel.

       "They have also found, upon the roof, a knotted rope. This rope was
       only long enough to reach a cornice in the chapel wall. _The wall
       itself affords no sign that anybody has attempted to descend by

The head-shaped reliquary is of beaten silver with enamelled visage, and
the hair and beard gilt.[26] The workmanship is French. The cross, which
hung till recently above the altar of the Relicario, but which now
requires to be placed upon the lengthy list of stolen wealth, was not
unlike the Cross of Angels in the Camara Santa at Oviedo, and had a
wooden body covered with gold plates in finely executed filigree,
studded with precious stones and cameos. Not many days ago, the wooden
core, divested of the precious metal and the precious stones, was found
abandoned in a field.

  [26] This form of reliquary was not uncommon. Morales, in his _Viaje
       Sacro_, describes another one, also preserved at Santiago, saying
       that it was a bust of silver, life-size and gilded to the breast,
       "with a large diadem of rays and many stones, both small and great,
       all or most of them of fine quality, though not of the most
       precious." Other bust-reliquaries belong, or have belonged, to the
       Cathedrals of Burgos and Toledo.

Visitors to the shrine of Santiago seldom fail to have their curiosity
excited by the monster "smoke-thrower" (_bota-fumeiro_) or incensory,
lowered (much like the deadly sword in Poe's exciting tale) on each
_fiesta_ by a batch of vigorous Gallegos from an iron frame fixed into
the pendentives of the dome. "The calmest heart," says Villa-amil,
"grows agitated to behold this giant vessel descending from the apex of
the nave until it almost sweeps the ground, wreathed in dense smoke and
spewing flame." Ford seems to have been unaware that the real purpose of
this metal monster was not to simply scent the holy precincts, but to
cover up the pestilential atmosphere created by a horde of verminous,
diseased, and evil-smelling pilgrims, who, by a usage which is now
suppressed, were authorized to pass the night before the services within
the actual cathedral wall.

The original _bota-fumeiro_, resembling, in Oxea's words, "a silver
boiler of gigantic bulk," was lost or stolen in the War of Spanish
Independence. It was replaced by another of iron, and this, in 1851, by
the present apparatus of white metal.

Striking objects of ecclesiastical _orfebrería_ were produced in Spain
throughout the thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries. Among the finest
are the triptych-reliquary of Seville cathedral known as the _Alfonsine
Tables_; the _retablo_ and _baldaquino_ of the cathedral of Gerona; the
silver throne, preserved in Barcelona cathedral, of Don Martin of
Aragon; and the _guión_, at Toledo, of Cardinal Mendoza.

                           [Illustration: IX
                            MUDEJAR TRIPTYCH
           (_Interior of one leaf of the door. 14th Century.
                  Royal Academy of History, Madrid_)]

Triptych-reliquaries, which had gradually expanded from the diptych
form--three leaves or panels thus replacing two,--were generally used in
Spain from the eleventh century, and varied in dimensions from a few
inches in height and width to several yards. We find them in the Gothic,
Mudejar,[27] Romanic, or Renaissance styles--wrought either in a single
style of these, or in effective combination of some two or more. The
Academy of History at Madrid possesses a richly ornamented Mudejar
triptych (Plate ix.) proceeding from the Monasterio de Piedra. It is
inferior, notwithstanding, to the _Tablas Alfonsinas_,[28] "a
specimen of Spanish silversmiths' work which illustrates the transition
to the new style, and the progress in the design of the figures owing to
the Italian Renaissance."[29] In or about the year 1274, this splendid
piece of sacred furniture was made by order of the learned king, to hold
the relics of certain saints and of the Virgin Mary. The maker is
thought by Amador to have been one "Master George," a craftsman held in
high esteem by the father of Alfonso and the conqueror of Seville,
Ferdinand the Third. Romanic influence is abundant in this triptych,
showing that, although exposed to constant changes from abroad, the
Spanish mediæval crafts adhered upon the whole with singular tenacity to
primitive tradition.

  [27] The Mudejares were the Mussulmans who submitted, in the conquered
       cities, to the Spanish-Christian rule. The word _Mudejar_ is of
       modern growth, nor can its derivation be resolved with certainty.
       From the thirteenth century onwards, and formed by the fusion of
       the Christian and the Saracenic elements, we find Mudejar influence
       copiously distributed through every phase of Spanish life and art,
       and even literature.

  [28] Amador prefers to call these Tables "the triptych of the learned
       king," in order to distinguish them by this explicit title from the
       _Astronomical Tables_ prepared by order of the same monarch.

  [29] Riaño, _Spanish Arts_, p. 16.

The triptych is of larch, or some such undecaying wood, and measures,
when the leaves are opened wide, forty inches over its entire breadth,
by twenty-two in height. Linen is stretched upon the wood, and over that
the silver-gilt _repoussé_ plates which form the principal adornment of
the reliquary. "The outside is decorated with twelve medallions
containing the arms of Castile and Aragon, and forty-eight others in
which are repeated alternately the subjects of the Adoration of the Magi
and the Annunciation of the Virgin, also in _repoussé_. In the centres
are eagles, allusive, it is possible, to Don Alfonso's claim to be
crowned Emperor.... The ornamentation which surrounds the panels belongs
to the sixteenth century" (Riaño). The arms here spoken of contain the
crowned lion and the castle of three towers; and the interesting fact is
pointed out by Amador that the diminutive doors and windows of these
castles show a strongly pointed Gothic arch. The sixteenth-century
bordering to the panels is in the manner known as Plateresque.[30] The
clasps are also Plateresque, and prove, together with the border,
that the triptych was restored about this time.

  [30] So named because the silversmiths (_plateros_) of this country used
       it in their monstrances (_custodias_) and in many other objects or
       utensils of religious worship. The most refined and erudite of
       Spanish silver-workers, Juan de Arfe, thus referred to it in

                      _"Usaron desta obra los plateros
                      Guardando sus preceptos con zelo;
                      Pusiéronle en los puntos postrimeros
                      De perfección mi abuelo."_

                            [Illustration: X
                        THE "TABLAS ALFONSINAS"
         (_View of Interior; 13th Century. Seville Cathedral_)]

Inside (Plate x.), it consists of fifteen compartments, "full of minute
ornamentation, among which are set a large number of capsules covered
with rock crystal containing relics, each one with an inscription of
enamelled gold, _cloisonné_. Several good cameos with sacred subjects
appear near the edge of the side leaves" (Riaño). These cameos,
handsomely engraved with figures of the Virgin and other subjects of
religious character, are fairly well preserved; but the designs upon
enamel are almost obliterated. Eight precious stones, set in as rude a
style as those upon the ancient crowns and crosses of the Visigoths,
have also fallen out, or been removed, from the interior.

The _retablo_ of Gerona cathedral and its baldachin date from the
fourteenth century. "The Retablo is of wood entirely covered with silver
plates, and divided vertically into three series of niches and canopies;
each division has a subject, and a good deal of enamelling is introduced
in various parts of the canopies and grounds of the panels. Each panel
has a cinq-foiled arch with a crocketed gablet and pinnacles on either
side. The straight line of the top is broken by three niches, which
rise in the centre and at either end. In the centre is the Blessed
Virgin with our Lord; on the right, San Narciso; and on the left, St
Filia. The three tiers of subjects contain figures of saints, subjects
from the life of the Blessed Virgin, and subjects from the life of our

  [31] Street, _Gothic Architecture in Spain_.

San Narciso is patron of the city of Gerona; which explains the presence
of his image here. From the treasury of the same cathedral was stolen,
during the War of Spanish Independence, a magnificent altar-front of
wrought gold and mosaic, a gift of Countess Gisla, wife of Ramón
Berenguer, count-king of Barcelona. It had in the centre a bas-relief
medallion representing the Virgin, another medallion with a portrait of
the donor, and various saints in niches, interworked with precious

The great armchair of Don Martin, called by Baron Davillier a "beau
faudesteuil gothique," which possibly served that monarch as a throne,
and was presented by him to the cathedral of Barcelona, dates from the
year 1410. The wooden frame is covered with elaborately chiselled plates
in silver-gilt. This most imposing object is carried in procession
through the streets upon the yearly festival of Corpus Christi.

                           [Illustration: XI
                       "THE CUP OF SAN FERNANDO"
                  (_13th Century. Seville Cathedral_)]

                           [Illustration: XII
                 (_15th Century. Zaragoza Cathedral_)]

The _guión de Mendoza_, now in Toledo cathedral, is a handsome
later-Gothic silver-gilt cross, and is the same which was raised upon
the Torre de la Vela at Granada on January 2nd, 1492, when the fairest
and most storied city in all Spain surrendered formally to Ferdinand and
Isabella. Many other interesting crosses, of the character known as
processional, are still preserved in various parts of the Peninsula, at
South Kensington, and elsewhere. The more remarkable are noticed under
various headings of this book. Their workmanship is generally of the
fifteenth or the sixteenth century.

The Seo or cathedral of Zaragoza possesses a handsome ship (Plate xii.),
presented to this temple, towards the end of the fifteenth century, by
the Valencian corsair, Mosén Juan de Torrellas. The hull is a large
shell resting on a silver-gilt dragon of good design, with a large
emerald set in the middle of its forehead, and a ruby for each eye.
Ships of this kind were not uncommon on a Spanish dining table of the
time, or in the treasuries of churches and cathedrals. Toledo owns
another of these vessels (in both senses of the word), which once
belonged to Doña Juana, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Hitherto I have confined my notice almost wholly to the treasure of the
Spanish temples. Turning from ecclesiastical to secular life, we find,
all through the Middle Ages, the humbler classes kept by constant penury
and war aloof from every form of luxury. Jewellery and gold and silver
work were thus essentially the perquisite or, so to speak, the privilege
of princes, nobles, and the Church. The mediæval kings and magnates of
this land were smitten inveterately with a passion for display, and
chronicles and inventories of the time contain instructive details of
the quantities of gems and precious metals employed by them to decorate
their persons and their palaces. The richness of their bedsteads will be
noticed under Furniture. Quantities of jewellery and plate belonged to
every noble household. For instance, the testament of the Countess of
Castañeda (A.D. 1443) includes the mention of "a gilded cup and cover to
the same; a silver vessel and its lid, the edges gilt, and in the centre
of both lid and vessel the arms of the said count, my lord; a silver
vessel with a foot to it; a diamond ring; a silver vessel with gilt
edges and the arms of the count, companion to the other vessels; a
jasper sweetmeat-tray with silver-gilt handles and feet; four coral
spoons; a gilt enamelled cup and lid; a small gilt cup and lid; two
large silver porringers; two French cups of white silver; two large
plates of eight marks apiece; two middling-sized silver vessels; two
silver-gilt barrels with silver-gilt chains."[32]

  [32] Count of Clonard.

On each occasion of a court or national festivity, the apparel of the
great was ponderous with gold and silver fringe, or thickly strewn with
pearls--the characteristic _aljofar_ or _aljofar_-work (Arabic _chawar_,
small pearls), for which the Moors were widely famed. Towards the
thirteenth century unmarried Spanish women of high rank possessed
abundant stores of bracelets, earrings, necklaces, gold chains, rings,
and gem-embroidered pouches for their money. Their waist-belts, too,
were heavy with gold and silver, and _aljofar_.[33] The poem of the
Archpriest of Hita (1343) mentions two articles of jewellery for female
wear called the _broncha_ and the _pancha_. The former was an ornament
for the throat; the other, a plate or medal which hung to below the
waist. An Arabic document quoted by Casiri, and dating from the reign
of Henry the First of Castile, specifies as belonging to an aristocratic
lady of that time, "Egyptian shirts of silk and linen, embroidered
shirts, Persian shirts with silk embroidery, Murcian gold necklaces,
ear-pendants of the same metal, set with gems; finger-rings and
bracelets, waist-belts of skins, embroidered with silk and precious
stones; cloaks of cloth of gold, embroidered mantles of the same,
coverings for the head, and kerchiefs."

  [33] _Ibid_.

For all the frequency with which they framed and iterated sterile and
exasperating sumptuary pragmatics for their people, the Spanish kings
themselves went even beyond the nobles in their craze for ostentatious
luxury. Upon the day when he was crowned at Burgos, Alfonso the Eleventh
"arrayed himself in gold and silver cloth bearing devices of the castle
and the lion, in which was much _aljofar_-work, as well as precious
stones innumerable; rubies, emeralds, and sapphires." Even the bit and
saddle of the monarch's charger were "exceeding precious on this day,
for gems and gold and silver covered all the saddle-bows, and the sides
of the saddle and its girths, together with the headstall, were
curiously wrought of gold and silver thread."

Similar relations may be found at every moment of the history of
mediæval Spain. Another instance may be quoted from the reign of
Ferdinand and Isabella. When these sovereigns visited Barcelona in 1481,
the queen was dressed as follows:--"She advanced riding upon a fine
mule, and seated on cushions covered with brocade, rising high above the
saddle. Her robe was of gold thread and jewel-work, with a rich brocade
skirt. Upon her head she wore a crown of gold adorned with richest
diamonds, pearls, rubies, balas rubies, and other stones of passing
price." During the same visit, a royal tournament was given in the Plaza
del Born, in presence of the aristocracy and wealthy townspeople, "the
counts, viscounts, deputies, councillors, _caballeros_, _gentiles
hombres_, burgesses, and others without number." Ferdinand, who "with
virtue and benignity" had deigned to break a lance or two in tourneying
with the Duke of Alburquerque, the Count of Benavente, and several
gentlemen of Cataluña, was wearing "over his harness a jacket all of
gold brocade. His horse's coverings and poitral also were of thread of
gold, richly devised and wrought, and of exceeding majesty and beauty.
And on his helm he wore a crown of gold, embellished with many pearls
and other stones; and above the crown a figure of a large gold bat,
which is the emblem of the kings of Aragon and counts of Barcelona, with
white and sanguine bars upon the scutcheon.[34] The queen and the
cardinal of Spain were in a window of the house of Mossen Guillem
Pujades, conservator of the realm of Sicily. Her highness wore a robe of
rich gold thread with a collar of beautiful pearls; and the trappings of
her mule were of brocade."[35]

  [34] Four pallets gules, on a field or; which were the arms of Cataluña
       and subsequently of Aragon.

  [35] _Archives of the Crown of Aragon._

Eleven years later the youthful prince, Don Juan, son of these rulers,
appeared before the citizens of Barcelona dressed in "a robe of
beautiful brocade that almost swept the ground, and a doublet of the
same material; the sleeves of the robe thickly adorned with fine pearls
of large size." He carried, too, "a gold collar of great size and beauty,
wrought of large diamonds, pearls, and other stones."[36]

  [36] _Ibid_.

It was an ancient usage with the people of Barcelona to present a silver
service to any member of the royal family who paid a visit to their
capital. The service so presented to Ferdinand the Catholic cost the
corporation a sum of more than twelve hundred pounds of Catalan money,
and included "a saltcellar made upon a rock. Upon the rock is a castle,
the tower of which contains the salt.... Two silver ewers, gilt within
and containing on the outside various enamelled devices in the centre,
together with the city arms. Also a silver-gilt lion upon a rustic
palisade of tree-trunks, holding an inscription in his right paw, with
the arms of the city, a flag, and a crown upon his head. This object
weighs thirty-four marks."[37] The service offered on the same occasion
to Isabella, though less in weight, was more elaborately wrought, and
cost on this account considerably more. It included "two silver ewers,
gilt within and enamelled without, bearing the city arms, and chiselled
in the centre with various designs of foliage. Also a silver saltcellar,
with six small towers, containing at the foot three pieces of
enamel-work with the arms of the city in relief. This saltcellar has its
lid and case, with a pinnacle upon the lid, and is of silver-gilt inside
and out."[38]

  [37] Sanpere y Miquel, _Revista de Ciencias Históricas_, art. _La
       Platería catalana en los siglos XIV. y XV._, vol. i. p. 441.

  [38] _Ibid_.

From about the fifteenth century the goldsmiths and the silversmiths of
Barcelona enjoyed considerable fame. Among their names are those of
Lobarolla, Roig, Berni, Belloch, Planes, Mellar, Corda, Fábregues,
Farrán, Perot Ximenis, Rafel Ximenis, Balagué, and Antonio de Valdés.
Riaño quotes the names of many more from Cean's dictionary. The most
important facts relating to these artists were brought to light some
years ago by Baron Davillier, who based the greater part of his research
upon the _Libros de Pasantía_ or silversmiths' examination-books (filled
with excellent designs for jewel-work) of Barcelona. These volumes,
formerly kept in the college of San Eloy, are now the property of the
Provincial Deputation of this city.

The goldsmiths' and the silversmiths' guild of Seville also possesses
four of its old examination-books, of which the earliest dates from
1600. Gestoso, in his _Dictionary of Sevillian Artificers_ describes the
actual ceremony of examination for a silversmith or goldsmith. Once in
every year the members of the guild assembled in their chapel of the
convent of San Francisco. Here and upon this day the candidate was
closely questioned, to begin with, as to his "purity of blood"--that is,
his freedom from contamination by relationship with any Moor or Hebrew.
When it was duly and precisely ascertained that he, his parents, and his
grandparents were uniformly "old Christians," untainted with the "wicked
race of Moors, Jews, heretics, mulattoes, and renegades," and that
neither he nor his ancestors had ever been put on trial by the
Inquisition or by any other tribunal, "whether publicly or secretly," he
was permitted to proceed to his examination proper.[39] The formula of
this was simple. The candidate was summoned before the board of
examiners, consisting of the Padre Mayor or patriarch of the guild, and
the two _veedores_ or inspectors, the one of gold-work, the other of
silver-work. The book of drawings was then placed upon the table, and a
ruler was thrust at haphazard among its leaves. Where the ruler chanced
to fall, the candidate was called upon to execute the corresponding
drawing to the satisfaction of his judges.

  [39] Gestoso mentions that Juan de Luna, a silversmith of Seville, was
       turned into the gutter from the workshop where he was employed,
       solely because his father had been punished as a Morisco by the
       Inquisition (_Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanos_, vol. i.
       p. lvi.).

Riaño lays too slight a stress upon the Moorish and Morisco jewellery of
Spain. Although the use of gold and silver ornaments is forbidden by
the Koran, the Muslim, wherever his vanity or his bodily comfort is
involved, tramples his Bible underfoot almost as regularly, tranquilly,
and radically as the Christians do their own. The Moors of Spain were
not at all behind their oriental brethren in displaying precious stones
and metals on their persons or about their homes. Al-Jattib tells us
that the third Mohammed offered to the mosque of the Alhambra columns
with capitals and bases of pure silver. Or who does not recall the
Caliphate of Cordova; the silver lamp that measured fifty palms across,
fitted with a thousand and fifty-four glass lamplets, and swinging by a
golden chain from the cupola of the entrance to the _mirhab_ in the vast
_mezquita_; the silver candlesticks and perfume-burners in the same
extraordinary temple; the precious stones and metals employed in mighty
quantities to decorate the palaces of Az-zahyra and Az-zahra?--

               "A wilderness of building, sinking far
               And self-withdrawn into a wondrous depth,
               Far sinking into splendour without end!
               Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
               With alabaster domes and silver spires,
               And blazing terrace upon terrace, high

In brief, just as the prelates of the Christian Church habitually
precede the Christian laity in trampling underfoot the elemental
doctrine of Our Lord, so were the most exalted and responsible of all
the Mussulmans--that is, their sultans--indefatigably foremost in
neglect of the Koranic law.

The Spanish sultans wore a ring of gold containing one large stone (such
as an emerald, or ruby, or turquoise), on which was cut the royal seal
and signature. Such was the ring belonging to Boabdil el Chico, worn by
him on the very day of the surrender of his capital, and by his hand
presented to a Spanish nobleman, the Count of Tendilla, governor-elect
of the Alhambra. According to Rodriguez de Ardila, the following
inscription was upon the stone:--"_La Ala ile Ala, abahu Tabiu. Aben Abi
Abdalá_," meaning, "_There is no God but God; this is the seal of Aben
Abi Abdalá._" Ardila, who was the author of a history of the Counts of
Tendilla (which still remains in manuscript), adds that he saw the ring,
although, as Eguilaz observes, two words of the inscription are
inaccurately rendered.

Among the Moors of Spain the use of signet rings was general. The stone
employed was commonly cornelian, richly mounted and inscribed in various
ways, as with the owner's name, his name together with a date, or the
name of the town of which he was a native. In other instances we meet
with pious phrases or quotations from the Koran; or perhaps a talismanic
figure, such as the open eye to guard the wearer from the dreaded _mal
de ojo_; or the open hand that still surmounts the gateway of the Tower
of Justice at Granada.[40]

  [40] An article by Señor Saavedra on these inscribed jewels and signets
       of Mohammedan Spain will be found in the _Museo Español de

Undoubtedly, too, the Moorish sultans of this country owned enormous
hoards of silver, gold, and precious stones. Al-Makkari says that the
treasure of the Nasrite rulers of Granada included quantities of pearls,
turquoises, and rubies; pearl necklets; earrings "surpassing those of
Mary the Copt" (Mohammed's concubine); swords of the finest temper,
embellished with pure gold; helmets with gilded borders, studded with
emeralds, pearls, and rubies; and silvered and enamelled belts.

                          [Illustration: XIII
                           MOORISH BRACELETS]

The Moorish women of this country, and in particular the
Granadinas,[41] were passionately fond of jewellery. Ornaments which
once belonged to them are sometimes brought to light in Andalusia,
Murcia, or Valencia, including pendants, rings, necklaces, and _axorcas_
or bangles for the ankle or the wrist, and bracelets for the upper
portion of the arm. The National Museum contains a small collection of
these objects, dating from the time of the Moriscos, and including a
handsome necklace terminating in a double chain, with ball and pyramid
shaped ornaments about the centre, a square-headed finger-ring with four
green stones and a garnet, and a hollow bracelet filled with a substance
that appears to be mastic, similar to those which are reproduced in
Plate xiii.

  [41] "As to the ornaments and jewels of the ladies of Granada, these
       wear at present necklaces of rich design, bracelets, rings (upon
       their ankles), and earrings of pure gold; together with quantities
       of silver and of precious stones upon their shoes. I say this of
       the middle class; for ladies of the aristocracy and of the older
       noble families display a vast variety of gems, such as rubies,
       chrysolites, emeralds, and pearls of great value. The ladies of
       Granada are commonly fair to look upon, shapely, of good stature,
       with long hair, teeth of a shining white, and perfumed breath,
       gracefully alert in their movements, and witty and agreeable in
       conversation. But unfortunately at this time their passion for
       painting themselves and for arraying themselves in every kind of
       jewellery and costly stuffs has reached a pitch that is no longer
       tolerable."--Al-Jattib, in _The Splendour of the New Moon
       concerning the Nasrite Sultans of Granada_.

These jewels, I repeat, are of Morisco workmanship, and therefore date
from later than the independent empire of the Spanish Moors.
Nevertheless, the geometrical or filigree design was common both to
Moorish and Morisco art. As I observed in my description of the
casket-reliquaries, we note continually the influence of these motives
on the arts of Christian Spain. The Ordinances relative to the
goldsmiths and the silversmiths of Granada, cried at various times
between 1529 and 1538, whether "in the silversmiths' street of the
Alcaycería, that has its opening over against the scriveners'"; or in
"the street of the Puente del Carbon, before the goldsmiths' shops"; or
"in the street of the Zacatin, where dwell the silversmiths," prove also
that for many years after the Reconquest the character and nomenclature
of this kind of work continued to be principally and traditionally

Firstly, the Ordinances complain that the goldsmiths of Granada now
employ a base and detrimental standard of the precious metals,
especially in the bracelets or _manillas_ of the women. The goldsmiths
answer in their vindication that equally as poor a standard is employed
at Seville, Cordova, and Toledo. These city laws herewith establish
twenty carats as a minimum fineness for the gold employed in making
ornaments. The makers, also, are ordered to impress their private stamp
or seal on every article, or in default to pay a fine of ten thousand
_maravedis_. A copy of each stamp or seal to be deposited in the city
chest. The _alamín_ or inspector of this trade to test and weigh all
gold and silver work before it is exposed for sale.

We learn from the same source that the gold bracelets were sometimes
smooth, and sometimes "covered over with devices" (_cubiertos de
estampas por cima_). The technical name of these was _albordados_. The
silver bracelets were also either smooth, or stamped, or twisted in a
cord (_encordados_). Bangles for the ankle, upper arm, and wrist are
mentioned as continuing to be generally worn, while one of the
Ordinances complains that "Moorish _axorcas_ are often sold that are
hollow, and filled with chalk and mastic, so that before they can be
weighed it is necessary to rid them of such substances by submitting
them to fire, albeit the fire turns them black."

The weapons and war-harness of the Spanish Moors were often exquisitely
decorated with the precious stones or metals. Splendid objects of this
kind have been preserved, and will be noticed in their proper chapter.

The ruinous and reckless measure known to Spain's eternal shame as the
Expulsion of the Moriscos, deprived this country of a great--perhaps the
greatest--part of her resources. Fonseca estimates this loss, solely in
the quantity of coin conveyed away, at two million and eight hundred
thousand _escudos_, adding that a single Morisco, Alami Delascar de
Aberique, bore off with him one hundred thousand ducats.[42] To make
this matter worse, the Moriscos, just before they went on board their
ships, fashioned from scraps of tin, old nails, and other refuse,
enormous stores of counterfeit coin, and slyly sold this rubbish to the
simple Spaniards in return for lawful money of the land. In the course
of a few days, and in a single quarter of Valencia, more than three
hundred thousand ducats of false coin were thus passed off upon the
Christians. Besides this exportation of good Spanish money, the cunning
fugitives removed huge quantities of jewellery and plate. Chains,
_axorcas_, rings, _zarcillos_, and gold _escudos_ were taken from the
bodies of many of the Morisco women who were murdered by the Spanish
soldiery; but the greater part of all this treasure found its way to
Africa. In his work _Expulsión justificada de los Moriscos_ (1612),
Aznar de Cardona says that the Morisco women carried "divers plates upon
the breast, together with necklaces and collars, earrings and
bracelets." It is recorded, too, that the Moriscos, as they struggled in
the country regions to avenge themselves upon their persecutors, did
unlimited damage to the ornaments and fittings of the churches. "This
people," says Fonseca, "respected not our temples or the holy images
that in them were; nor yet the chalices and other objects they
encountered in our sacristies. Upon the contrary, they smashed the
crosses, burned the saints, profaned the sacred vestments, and committed
such acts of sacrilege as though they had been Algerian Moors, or Turks
of Constantinople."

  [42] There was, however, from long before this time a prohibition to
       export from Spain the precious metals, in any form, whether as
       objects of plate or as coined money. The penalty for a repetition
       of this offence was death. Another law prohibited all foreigners
       who were resident in Spain, not excluding the Moriscos, from buying
       gold or silver in the bar (_Suma de Leyes_, p. 46). It was also
       forbidden to sell the jewels or other objects of value belonging to
       a place of worship (_ibid_. p. 87).

Legends of hidden Moorish and Morisco wealth are still extant in many
parts of Spain. The Abbé Bertaut de Rouen[43] and Swinburne among
foreigners, or Spaniards such as the gossiping priest Echeverría, who
provided Washington Irving with the pick of his _Tales of the Alhambra_,
have treated copiously of this fascinating and mysterious theme. The
Siete Suelos Tower at Granada is particularly favoured with traditions
of this kind. Peasants of the Alpujarras still declare that piles of
Moorish money lie secreted in the lofty buttresses of Mulhacen and the
Veleta, while yet another summit of this snowy range bears the
suggestive title of the Cerro del Tesoro, where, almost within the
memory of living men, a numerous party, fitted and commissioned by the
State, explored with feverish though unlucky zeal the naked cliffs and
sterile crannies of the lonely mountain.[44]

  [43] This entertaining and inquisitive tourist describes, in 1659, a
       wondrous cavern in the south of Spain, "ou l'on conte que les Mores
       ont caché leurs trésors en s'en retournant en Afrique, et ou
       personne n'ose aborder de peur des esprits que l'on dit que l'on y
       voit souvent. Mais comme il commencait a se faire nuit, je n'eus
       pas le loisir de m'y amuser beaucoup." With this our author shelved
       his curiosity, and prudently retired.

  [44] Leonard Williams. _Granada: Memories, Adventures, Studies, and
       Impressions_, p. 90.

Reducing all these fables to the terms of truth, Moorish and Morisco
jewellery and coin are sometimes brought to light on Spanish soil. Such
finds occur, less seldom than elsewhere, within the provinces of
Seville, Cordova, Granada, and Almeria (Plate xiv.), but since they are
neither frequent nor considerable, although the likeliest ground for
them is being disturbed continually, we may conclude that nearly all the
Muslim wealth accumulated here slipped from the clumsy if ferocious
fingers of the mother-country, and found its way, concealed upon the
bodies of her persecuted offspring, to the shores of Africa.[45]

  [45] Ford was more hopeful as to the preservation of this wealth in
       Spain. "No doubt much coin is buried in the Peninsula, since the
       country has always been invaded and torn by civil wars, and there
       never has been much confidence between Spaniard and Spaniard;
       accordingly the only sure, although unproductive, investment for
       those who had money, was gold or silver, and the only resource to
       preserve that, was to hide it."--_Handbook_, vol. ii. p. 682.

                           [Illustration: XIV
                           MORISCO JEWELLERY
                 (_Found in the Province of Granada_)]

Sometimes, too, an early gold or silver object would be melted down and
modernized into another and a newer piece of plate. This was a fairly
common usage with the silversmiths themselves, or with an ignorant or
stingy brotherhood or chapter. Thus, the following entry occurs in the
_Libro de Visita de Fábrica_ belonging to the parish church of Santa
Ana, Triana, Seville. In the year 1599 "the large cross of silver-gilt,
together with its _mançana_ and all the silver attaching thereto, was
taken to the house of Zubieta the silversmith, and pulled to pieces. It
weighed 25 marks and 4 _ochavas_ of silver, besides 5 marks and 2 ounces
and 4 _ochavas_ of silver which was the weight of the three lamps
delivered to Zubieta in the time of Juan de Mirando, aforetime steward
of this church. It is now made into a silver-gilt cross."[46]

  [46] Gestoso, _Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanos_, vol. ii. p. 360.

A similar instance may be quoted from a document of Cordova, published
by Ramírez de Arellano in his relation of a visit to the monastery of
San Jerónimo de Valparaiso. In the year 1607 Gerónimo de la Cruz, a
Cordovese silversmith, agreed with the prior of this monastery to make
for the community a silver-gilt _custodia_. For this purpose he received
from the prior, doubtless a man of parsimonious spirit and a boor in his
appreciativeness of art, eight pairs of vinegar cruets, four of whose
tops were missing; a silver-gilt chalice and its patine; a _viril_ with
two angels and four pieces on the crown of it; a small communion cup;
some silver candlesticks; four spoons and a fork, also of silver; and a
silver-gilt salt-cellar. The total value of these objects was 1826
_reales_; and all of them were tossed, in Ford's indignant phrase, into
the "sacrilegious melting-pot," in order to provide material for the new

                            [Illustration: XV
         (_Made by Juan de Arfe in_ 1592. _Burgos Cathedral_)]

The gold and silver work of Christian Spain attained, throughout the
fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries, a high degree of excellence
(Plates xv., xvi., etc.). The best of it was made at Seville, Barcelona,
Toledo, and Valladolid. Objects of great artistic worth were also
produced at Burgos, Palencia, León, Cuenca, Cordova, and Salamanca. I
have already mentioned some of the principal _orfebreros_ of Barcelona.
Juan Ruiz of Cordova, whom Juan de Arfe applauds as "the first
silversmith who taught the way to do good work in Andalusia," was also,
in this region, the first to turn the precious metals on the lathe. A
famous silversmith of Seville was Diego de Vozmediano, whom we find
living there in 1525. Toledo, too, could boast, among an army of
distinguished gold and silver smiths (Riaño gives the names of no fewer
than seventy-seven), Cristóbal de Ordas, Juan Rodríguez de Babria, and
Pedro Hernandez, _plateros_, respectively, to Charles the Fifth, to
Philip the Second, and to the queen-dowager of Portugal; and also the
silversmith and engraver upon metals, Pedro Angel, whose praise is sung
by Lope de Vega in the prologue to his _auto_ called _The Voyage of the

               "_Y es hoy Pedro Angel un divino artífice
                 con el buril en oro, plata, ó cobre._"

By far the greater part of all Toledo's gold and silver work was made
for service in her mighty temple. Such were the statue of Saint Helen,
presented by Philip the Second; the crown of the Virgen del Sagrario,
wrought by Hernando de Carrión and Alejo de Montoya; the bracelets or
_ajorcas_ made for the image of the same Madonna by Julián Honrado; and
the exquisite chests carved in 1569 and 1598 by Francisco Merino from
designs by the two Vergaras, father and son, as reliquaries for the
bones of San Eugenio and Santa Leocadia, patrons of this ancient
capital.[47] A magnificent silver lamp was also, in 1565, offered by the
chapter of the cathedral to the church of Saint Denis in France, in
gratitude for the surrender of the bones of San Eugenio to the city of
his birth. These and other objects of Toledan gold and silver work are
stated to be "worthy of comparison with the very best of what was then
produced in Germany, Italy, and France."[48]

  [47] A full description of these chests will be found in Cean Bermudez,
       vol. iii. pp. 135-137.

  [48] Rada y Delgado, in his reply to the Count of Cedillo's address in
       the Royal Academy of History. For particulars of the silver lamp,
       which was made by Marcos and Gonzalo Hernandez, Toledanos, and by
       Diego Dávila, see Zarco del Valle, _Documentos Inéditos para la
       Historia de las Bellas Artes en España_, vol. lv. p. 580.

Baron Davillier also held a high opinion of the Spanish _orfebreros_ of
this time. After remarking that the Italian influence was powerful among
the Spaniards in the sixteenth century, and more particularly for some
fifty years at Barcelona, he says: "A cette époque les _plateros_
espagnols pouvaient rivaliser sans désavantage avec les Italiens, les
Français, les Flamands, et les Allemands."

The same authority also says that the Spanish _plateros_ of this period
were skilled enamellers on gold and silver, and quotes some entries from
French inventories of the time in which we read of cups, salt-cellars,
washing-basins, and other objects executed or enamelled "à la mode

  [49] _Recherches sur l'Orfévrerie en Espagne_, pp. 61 _et seq._

As we have seen, the exodus of the Moriscos lost to Spain a great
proportion of her total wealth, although, conjointly with this loss, new
wealth flowed into her in marvellous abundance from the New World.[50]
Thus, the silver-mines of Potosi, discovered in 1545, sent over to the
mother-country, between that year and 1633, no less than eight hundred
and forty-five millions of _pesos_. And yet this mighty influx of new
riches cannot be said, except in the artistic sense, to have enriched
the nation. She had renounced the service of the most industrious and,
in many instances, the most ingenious of her native craftsmen; while on
the other hand the Christians, with but limited exceptions, were far too
proud and far too indolent to set their hand to any form of manual
exercise; just as (I much regret to add) a great proportion of them are
this very day. Foreign artificers in consequence (particularly after the
royal pragmatic of 1623 encouraging their immigration), attracted by the
treasure fleets that anchored in the bay of Cadiz, came trooping into
Spain and filled their pockets from the national purse, fashioning, in
return for money which they husbanded and sent abroad, luxurious gold
and silver objects that were merely destined to stagnate within her
churches and cathedrals.

  [50] Ulloa, _Memorias Sevillanas_, vol. i. p. 199.

Riaño and Baron de la Vega de Hoz extract from Cean Bermudez a copious
list of silversmiths who worked in Spain all through the Middle Ages.
This long array of isolated names and dates is neither interesting nor
informative. Newer and more attractive notices have been discovered
subsequently. Thus, in the National Library at Madrid, Don Manuel G.
Simancas has disinterred quite recently the copy made by a Jesuit of a
series of thirteenth-century accounts relating to various craftsmen of
the reign of Sancho the Fourth ("the Brave"). Two of them are concerning
early _orfebreros_:--

"Juan Yanez. By letters of the king and queen to Johan Yanez, goldsmith,
brother of Ferran García, scrivener to the king; for three chalices
received from him by the king, CCCCLXXVIII _maravedis_."

The second entry says:--

"Bartolomé Rinalt. And he paid Bartolomé Rinalt for jewels which the
queen bought from him to present to Doña Marina Suarez, nurse of the
Infante Don Pedro, MCCCL _maravedis_."[51]

  [51] _Libro de diferentes Cuentas y gasto de la Casa Real en el Reynado
       de Don Sancho IV. Sacado de un tomo original en folio que se guarda
       en la Librería de la Santa Iglesia de Toledo._ Años de 1293-1294.
       Por el P. Andres Marcos Burriel de la Comp^a de Jesus.

Among Spain's gold and silver craftsmen of the fifteenth century we
find the names of Juan de Castelnou, together with his son Jaime, who
worked at Valencia; of Lope Rodríguez de Villareal, Ruby, and Juan
Gonzalez, all three of whom worked at Toledo; and of Juan de Segovia, a
friar of Guadalupe. Papers concerning Juan Gonzalez, and dated 1425,
1427, and 1431, are published among the _Documentos Inéditos_ of Zarco
del Valle. One of Segovia's masterpieces was a silver salt-cellar in the
form of a lion tearing open a pomegranate--clearly allusive to the
conquest of Granada from the Moors. Upon their visiting the monastery,
Ferdinand and Isabella saw and, as was natural, conceived a fancy for
this salt-cellar; and so, whether from inclination or necessity, the
brotherhood induced them to accept it.

Sixteenth-century _plateros_ of renown were Juan Donante, Mateo and
Nicolás (whose surnames are unknown)--all three of whom worked at
Seville; and Duarte Rodríguez and Fernando Ballesteros, natives of that
city. In or about the year 1524 were working at Toledo the silversmiths
Pedro Herreros and Hernando de Valles, together with Diego Vazquez,
Andres Ordoñez, Hernando de Carrión, Diego de Valdivieso, Juan Domingo
de Villanueva, Diego Abedo de Villandrando, Juan Tello de Morata,
Francisco de Reinalte, Hans Belta, and Francisco Merino. Several of
these men were natives of Toledo.

Among the silversmiths of sixteenth-century Cordova were Diego de Alfaro
and his son Francisco, Francisco de Baena, Alonso Casas, Alonso del
Castillo, Luis de Cordoba, Sebastián de Cordoba, Cristóbal de Escalante,
Juan Gonzalez, Diego Fernandez, Diego Hernandez Rubio (son of Sebastián
de Cordoba), Rodrigo de León, Gómez Luque, Ginés Martinez, Melchor de
los Reyes (silversmith and enameller), Andrés de Roa, Pedro de Roa,
Alonso Sanchez, Jerónimo Sanchez de la Cruz, Martin Sanchez de la Cruz
(Jerónimo's son), Pedro Sanchez de Luque, Alonso de Sevilla, Juan
Urbano, and Lucas de Valdés.

Not much is told us of the lives and labours of these artists. The best
reputed of them as a craftsman was Rodrigo de León, who stood next after
Juan Ruiz, _el Sandolino_. Ramírez de Arellano, from whom I have
collected these data, publishes a number of León's agreements or
contracts, which from their length and dryness I do not here repeat. In
1603 we find him official silversmith to the cathedral, under the title
of "_platero de martillo_ ("silversmith of hammered work") _de la obra
de la catedral desta ciudad_."

Francisco de Alfaro, although a Cordovese by birth, resided commonly at
Seville. In 1578 he received 446,163 _maravedis_ for making four silver
candlesticks for use in celebrating divine service. These candlesticks
are still in the cathedral.

Sebastián de Cordoba was one of the foremost artists of his age. He died
in 1587, leaving, together with other children, a son, Diego, who also
won some reputation as a silversmith. Ramírez de Arellano publishes a
full relation of the property which Sebastián de Cordoba bequeathed at
his decease, as well as of the money which was owing to him. Among the
former, or the "movable effects," we read of "Isabel, a Morisco woman,
native of the kingdom of Granada; her age thirty-four years, a little
less or more." The same inventory includes a curious and complete
account of all the tools and apparatus in Sebastián's workshop.

But the quaintest notice of them all, though it does not apprise us of
his merit as a silversmith, is that concerning Cristóbal de Escalante.
Cristóbal suffered, we are told, from "certain sores produced by humours
in his left leg; wherefore the said leg undergoes a change and swells."
He therefore makes a contract with one Juan Jiménez, "servant in the
Royal Stables of His Majesty the King," and duly examined as a herbalist
("licensed," in the actual phrase, "to remedy this kind of ailments"),
who is to heal his leg "by means of the divine will of the cure." As
soon as Cristóbal shall be thoroughly well, "in so much that his ailing
leg shall be the other's equal in the fatness and the form thereof," he
is to pay Jiménez five-and-fifty _reales_, "having already given him ten
_reales_ on account."

Probably, as Señor Ramírez de Arellano facetiously supposes, Cristóbal,
after such a course of treatment, would be lame for all his life. At any
rate, he died in 1605, though whether from the gentle handling of the
stableman and herbalist is not recorded in these entries.

Still keeping to the sixteenth century, in other parts of Spain we find
the silversmiths Baltasar Alvarez and Juan de Benavente, working at
Palencia; Alonso de Dueñas at Salamanca; and Juan de Orna at Burgos,
about the same time that the foreigners Jacomi de Trezzo and Leo Leoni
were engaged at the Escorial. Cuenca, too, boasted three excellent
silver-workers in the family of Becerril, mentioned by Juan de Arfe in
company with other craftsmen of the time of the Renaissance.[52]
Stirling says of Cuenca and the Becerriles: "They made for the cathedral
its great _custodia_, which was one of the most costly and celebrated
pieces of church plate in Spain. They began it in 1528, and, though
ready for use in 1546, it was not finished till 1573. It was a
three-storied edifice, of a florid classical design, crowned with a
dome, and enriched with numberless groups and statues, and an inner
shrine of jewelled gold; it contained 616 marks of silver, and cost
17,725-1/2 ducats, a sum which can barely have paid the ingenious
artists for the labour of forty-five years. In the War of Independence,
this splendid prize fell into the hands of the French General
Caulaincourt, by whom it was forthwith turned into five-franc pieces,
bearing the image and superscription of Napoleon."[53]

  [52]         "_Con estos fué mi padre en seguimiento
               Joan Alvarez tambien el Salmantino,
               Becerril, que tambien fué deste cuento,
               Juan de Orna, y Juan Ruiz el Vandolino._"

  [53] _Annals of the Artists of Spain_, vol. i. pp. 161, 162.

A more reliable notice says that this _custodia_ was begun by Alonso
Becerril and finished by his brother Francisco. The third member of
this family of artists, Cristóbal, who flourished towards the end of the
sixteenth century, was Francisco's son.

                           [Illustration: XVI
                           GOTHIC _CUSTODIA_
                           (_15th Century_)]

Towards the close of the Gothic and during the earlier phases of the
Renaissance movement in this country, enormous quantities of gold and
silver began to be employed in making these _custodias_ or monstrances
of her temples; so that the fifteenth century may well be called, in
Spanish craftsmanship, the "age of the _custodia_." A century ago the
reverend Townsend, loyal to the Low Church prejudices of his day, spoke
of this object with something of a sneer as "the depository of the Host,
or, according to the ideas of a Catholic, the throne of the Most High,
when, upon solemn festivals, He appears to command the adoration of
mankind." Riaño's description is more technical. "The name of
_custodia_," he says, "is given in Spain, not only to the monstrance or
ostensoir where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, but also to a sort of
temple or tabernacle, of large size, made also of silver, inside which
is placed the monstrance, which is carried in procession on Corpus
Christi day (Plate xvi.). In order to distinguish these objects one from
another, the name of _viril_ is given to the object which holds the
consecrated Host; it is generally made of rock crystal, with a gold stem
and mount ornamented with precious stones. The small tabernacles are
generally objects of the greatest importance, both from their artistic
and intrinsic value." A third description of the monstrance, written in
quaint and antiquated Spanish verse by Juan de Arfe, is truthfully if
not melodiously translated into English rhyme by Stirling:--

               "Custodia is a temple of rich plate,
               Wrought for the glory of our Saviour true,
               Where, into wafer transubstantiate,
               He shows his Godhead and his Manhood too,
               That holiest ark of old to imitate,
               Fashioned by Bezaleel, the cunning Jew,
               Chosen of God to work His sov'ran will,
               And greatly gifted with celestial skill."[54]

  [54] _Op. cit._, p. 159, note.

Notwithstanding that the monstrance of Toledo, surmounted by a cross of
solid gold, turns the scale at ten thousand nine hundred ounces, and
that of Avila at one hundred and forty pounds, the weight of nearly all
of these _custodias_ is far exceeded by the value of their workmanship.
The style employed in their construction is the Gothic, the Renaissance,
or the two combined. _Custodias_ of the eastern parts of Spain are more
affected than the others by Italian influence, noticeable both in
decorative motives which recall the Florentine, and in the use, together
with the silver-work, of painting and enamels. In other parts of Spain
the dominating influence is the later Gothic. Among the former or
Levantine class of monstrances, the most important are those of
Barcelona, Vich, Gerona, and Palma de Mallorca; and of the others, those
of Cordova, Cadiz, Sahagún, Zamora, Salamanca, and Toledo--this last,
according to Bertaut de Rouen, "à la manière d'un clocher percé à jour,
d'ouvrage de filigrane, et plein de figures." _Custodias_ in the purest
classic or Renaissance style are those of Seville, Valladolid, Palencia,
Avila, Jaen, Madrid, Segovia, Zaragoza, Santiago, and Orense.

Juan de Arfe y Villafañe, who may be called the Cellini of Spain's
_custodia_-makers, was born at León in 1535. He was the son of Antonio
de Arfe, and grandson of Enrique de Arfe, a German who had married a
Spanish wife and made his home in Spain. The family of Juan, including
his brother Antonio, were all distinguished craftsmen, and he himself
informs us that his grandfather excelled in Gothic _platería_, as may
be judged from the _custodias_, by Enrique's hand, of Cordova, León,
Toledo, and Sahagún, and many smaller objects, such as incensories,
crosiers, and paxes.

The father of Juan, Antonio de Arfe, worked in silver in the Renaissance
or Plateresque styles, and executed in the florid manner the _custodias_
of Santiago de Galicia and Medina de Rioseco; but the training and
tastes of Juan himself were sternly classical. His work in consequence
has a certain coldness, largely atoned for by its exquisite correctness
of design and unimpeachable proportions. Arfe's ideal in these matters
may readily be judged of from his written verdict on the Greco-Roman
architecture. "The Escorial," he says, in the preface to his description
of the _custodia_ of Seville cathedral, "_because it follows the rules
of ancient art_, competes in general perfection, size, or splendour with
the most distinguished buildings of the Asiatics, Greeks, and Romans,
and displays magnificence and truth in all its detail."

In point of versatility Juan de Arfe was a kind of Spanish Leonardo. His
book, _De Varia Conmensuración_, etc., published in 1585, is divided
into four parts, and deals, the first part with the practice of
geometry, the second with human anatomy, the third with animals, and
the fourth with architecture and silver-work for use in churches.

[Illustration: IOAN DE ARFE]

This book is prefaced by the portrait of the author, given above. It
shows us--what he really was--a quiet, cultured, gentle-hearted man.
Indeed, while Arfe was studying anatomy at Salamanca, it gave him pain
to lacerate the bodies even of the dead. "I was witness," he records,
"to the flaying of several pauper men and women whom the law had
executed; but these experiments, besides being horrible and cruel, I saw
to be of little service to my studies in anatomy."

Arfe's workmanship of the _custodia_ of Avila cathedral, which he began
in 1564 and terminated in 1571, won for him an early and extended fame.
He also made the _custodia_ of Burgos (brutally melted during the
Spanish War of Independence), and those of Valladolid (finished in
1590), Lugo, Osma, and the Hermandad del Santísimo at Madrid. The
_custodia_ of Palencia is also thought by some to be his handiwork.

But Arfe's crowning labour was the Greco-Roman _custodia_ of Seville
cathedral (Plate xvii.). The chapter of this temple selected his design
in 1580, and nominated the licentiate Pacheco to assist him with the
statuettes. Pacheco also carried out his portion of the task with skill
and judgment. A rare pamphlet, written by Arfe and published at Seville
in 1587, gives a minute description of the whole _custodia_. In Appendix
C, I render this description into English, together with a similarly
detailed notice of the _custodia_ (1513 A.D.) of Cordova. This last,
which we have seen to be the work of Juan de Arfe's grandfather,
Enrique, is not to be surpassed for fairy grace and lightness, seeming,
in the eloquent metaphor of a modern writer, "to have been conceived in
a dream, and executed with the breath."

                           [Illustration: XVII
                (_By Juan de Arfe. Late 16th Century_)]

Spain in the seventeenth century had reached the lowest depth of her
decadence and impoverishment; and yet we find that century an age--to
quote a Spanish term--of "gallantries and pearls," in which a craze for
reckless luxury continued to prevail in every quarter. Narratives
innumerable inform us of the life and doings of that prodigal court and
prodigal aristocracy; their ruinous and incessant festivals; the
fortunes that were thrown away on furniture, and jewels, and costume.
True, we are told by Bertaut de Rouen that, except upon their numerous
holidays, the costume of the Spanish men was plain enough. This author,
who calls them otherwise "debauched and ignorant," says that their
clothes were all of "méchante frise," and adds that they continually
took snuff, "dont ils ont toujours les narines pleines, ce qui fait
qu'ils n'ont que des mouchoirs de laine, de toile grise, et peinte comme
de la toile de la Chine." The same traveller, attending an ordinary
reception in the royal palace at Madrid, was unable to distinguish the
nobles from the lower orders, except that, by the privilege peculiar to
this country, the former kept their hats on in the presence of the
sovereign. Even of Philip himself he says: "Le Roy d'Espagne estoit
debout avec un habit fort simple et fort ressemblant à tous ses
portraits"; alluding, probably, to those of Philip the Fourth by
Velazquez, in which the monarch wears a plain cloth doublet.

But when the Spaniard dressed himself for any scene of gala show, his
spendthrift inclinations swelled into a positive disease. The women,
too, squandered enormous sums on finery. The Marchioness of Liche, said
to have been the loveliest Española of that day, is spoken of by Bertaut
as wearing "un corps de brocard d'argent avec de grandes basques à leur
mode, la jupe d'une autre étoffe avec grand nombre de pierreries, et
cela luy fetoit fort bien." An anonymous manuscript of the period,
published by Gayangos in the _Revista de España_ for 1884, describes the
_fiestas_ celebrated at Valladolid in 1605, in honour of the English
ambassador and his retinue. In this relation the Duke of Lerma is quoted
as possessing a yearly income of three hundred thousand _cruzados_,
besides "as much again in jewellery and furniture, and gold and silver
services." At the state banquets which were given at that wasteful
court, even the pies and tarts were washed with gold or silver; and at a
single feast the dishes of various kinds of fare amounted to two
thousand and two hundred. At the banquet given by the Duke of Lerma,
three special sideboards were constructed to sustain the weight of four
hundred pieces of silver, "all of them of delicate design and
exquisitely wrought of silver, gold, and enamel, together with
innumerable objects of glass and crystal of capricious form, with
handles, lids, and feet of finest gold."

The whole of Spain's nobility was congregated at these festivals,
"richly attired with quantities of pearls and oriental gems," while
everybody, young and old alike, wore "diamond buttons and brooches on
cloaks and doublets," feather plumes with costly medals, gold chains
with emeralds, and other ornaments. The ladies of the aristocracy were
also "clothed in costliest style, as well as loaded with diamonds and
pearls and hair-ornaments of pearls and gold, such as the women of
Castile lay by for these solemnities."

The Spanish churches, too, continued to be veritable storehouses of
treasure. The manuscript published by Gayangos says that in 1605 the
church of La Merced at Valladolid had its altars "covered with beautiful
gold and silver vessels, of which there are a great many in the whole of
Castilla la Vieja, and particularly here at Valladolid." Bertaut de
Rouen's notice of the shrine of Montserrat in Cataluña has been inserted
previously. In 1775 Swinburne wrote of the same temple:--"In the
sacristy and passages leading to it are presses and cupboards full of
relics and ornaments of gold, silver, and precious stones; they pointed
out to us, as the most remarkable, two crowns for the Virgin and her
Son, of inestimable value, some large diamond rings, an excellent cameo
of Medusa's head, the Roman emperors in alabaster, the sword of Saint
Ignatius, and the chest that contains the ashes of a famous brother,
John Guarin, of whom they relate the same story as that given in the
_Spectator_ of a Turkish santon and the Sultan's daughter.... Immense is
the quantity of votive offerings to this miraculous statue; and as
nothing can be rejected or otherwise disposed of, the shelves are
crowded with the most whimsical _ex votos_, viz., silver legs, fingers,
breasts, earrings, watches, two-wheeled chaises, boats, carts, and
such-like trumpery."

Many pragmatics from the Crown vainly endeavoured to suppress or
mitigate the popular extravagance. Such was the royal letter of 1611,
which forbade, among the laity, the wearing of "gold jewels with
decoration or enamel in relief, or points with pearls or other stones."
Smaller jewels, of the kind known as _joyeles_ and _brincos_,[55] were
limited to a single stone, together with its pearl pendant. The
jewellery of the women was exempted from these laws, though even here
were certain limitations. Rings for the finger might, however, bear
enamel-work, or any kind of stone. Enamel was also allowed in gold
buttons and chains for the men's caps, as well as in the badges worn by
the knights of the military orders.

  [55] _Brinco_ (_brincar_, to jump or spring). These jewels were so
       called from their vibrating as the wearer walked. The Balearic
       Islands were famous for their manufacture; and the late Marquis of
       Arcicollar possessed a case of valuable examples, most of which
       proceeded from this locality.

"It is forbidden," continues this pragmatic, "to make any object of
gold, silver, or other metal with work in relief, or the likeness of a
person; nor shall any object be gilt, excepting drinking vessels, and
the weight of these shall not exceed three marks. All other silver
shall be flat and plain, without gilding; but this does not apply to
objects intended for religious worship."

"All niello-work is prohibited, as are silver brasiers and buffets."[56]

  [56] _Suma de Leyes_, 1628, p. 116 (2).

What I may call the private jewel-work of Spain, largely retains
throughout its history the characteristic lack of finish of all the
Visigothic treasure found at Guarrazar. From first to last, until
extinguished or absorbed by foreign influences two centuries ago, it
strives to compensate in ponderous and bulky splendour for what it lacks
in delicacy, elegance, and taste. It is just the jewellery we should
expect to find among a military people who once upon a time possessed
great riches simultaneously with little education, and who, from this
and other causes, such as the strenuous opposition of the national
church to pagan sentiments expressed in fleshly form, were never
genuinely or profoundly art-loving. Long residence and observation in
their midst induce me to affirm that as a race the Spaniards are and
always have been hostile, or at least indifferent, to the arts; and that
their most illustrious artists have made their power manifest and raised
themselves to eminence despite the people--not, as in Italy, on the
supporting shoulders of the people.

Dazzle and show monopolized, and to a great extent monopolize still, the
preference of this race. The Spanish breast-ornaments of the seventeenth
century, preserved at South Kensington and reproduced by Riaño on pages
37 and 39 of his handbook, are strongly reminiscent of the Visigothic
ornaments. Who would imagine that a thousand years had come and gone
between the execution of the new and of the old? As late as the reign of
Charles the Second the culture of a Spanish lady of high birth was
little, if at all, superior to a savage's. "False stones enchant them,"
wrote Countess d'Aulnoy. "Although they possess many jewels of
considerable value and the finest quality, it is their whim to carry on
their person wretched bits of glass cut in the coarsest fashion, just
like those which pedlars in my country sell to country girls who have
seen nobody but the village curate, and nothing but their flocks of
sheep. Dames of the aristocracy adorn themselves with these pieces of
glass, that are worth nothing at all; yet they purchase them at high
prices. When I asked them why they like false diamonds, they told me
they prefer them to the genuine as being larger. Indeed, they sometimes
wear them of the bigness of an egg." Even where the stones were real,
the Spanish taste in setting and in wearing them was no less execrable.
The Countess says: "the ladies here possess great stores of beautiful
precious stones, and do not wear, like Frenchwomen, a single article of
jewellery, but nine or ten together, some of diamonds, others of rubies,
pearls, emeralds, and turquoises, wretchedly mounted, since they are
almost wholly covered with the gold. When I inquired the cause of this,
they told me the jewels were so made because the gold was as beautiful
as the gems. I suppose, however, the real reason is the backwardness of
the craftsmen, who can do no better work than this, excepting Verbec,
who has no lack of skill, and would turn out excellent jewels if he took
the trouble to finish them."

"In the neck of their bodices the ladies fasten pins profusely set with
precious stones. Hanging from the pin, and fastened at the lower end to
the side of their dress, is a string of pearls or diamonds. They wear no
necklace, but bracelets on their wrists and rings on their fingers, as
well as long earrings of so great a weight that I know not how they can
support them. Hanging from these earrings they display whatever finery
they may fancy. I have seen some ladies who wore good-sized watches
hanging from their ears, strings of precious stones, English keys of
dainty make, and little bells. They also wear the _agnus_, together with
little images about their neck and arms, or in their hair. They dress
their hair in various ways, and always go with it uncovered, using many
hairpins in the form of coloured flies or butterflies of diamonds,
emeralds, and rubies."

Book-worm authorities, addicted to "dry bones" of letters, are prone
just now to doubt this visit of Countess d'Aulnoy to the capital of
Spain. But if such patient doubters will compare her narrative with
those of other foreigners, _e.g._ Bertaut de Rouen, or the manuscript
description of Valladolid, written by a Portuguese, and now in the
British Museum library, their scepticism will--or should--be done away
with on the moment. The letters of the countess make it plain by copious
inner testimony that she actually performed her Spanish visit; and
though from time to time she over-colours or misreads the truth, it was
the very usages of Spain that were absurd and out of joint, and not,
except in isolated instances, the sprightly and observant Frenchwoman's
account of them.[57]

  [57] But on the other hand I much suspect that the following passage in
       Alvarez de Colmenar's _Annales d'Espagne et de Portugal_
       (vol. iii. p. 326) is stolen from Countess d'Aulnoy. "Elles ne
       portent point de colier, mais en échange elles ont des bracelets,
       des bagues, et des pendans d'oreille, plus gros que tous ceux qu'on
       voit en Hollande. Telle est la diversité des gouts des nations
       différentes, en matière de beauté. Il y en a même quelques-unes,
       qui attachent quelque beau joli bijou à leurs pendans d'oreilles,
       quelque ornement de pierreries, par exemple, ou d'autres choses
       semblables, selon leur quantité ou leur pouvoir."

Elsewhere the Countess says: "Utensils of common metal are not employed
here, but only those of silver or of ware. I hear that a little while
ago, upon the death of the Duke of Alburquerque, six weeks were needed
to make out an inventory of his gold and silver services. His house
contained fourteen hundred dozen plates, five hundred large dishes, and
seven hundred of a smaller size, with all the other pieces in
proportion, and forty silver ladders for climbing his sideboard, made in
grades like an altar in a spacious hall."

These statements have been proved in later years. Dating from 1560, an
inventory of the ducal house of Alburquerque was found not many years
ago. In it we find the detailed list of gold and silver; cups and
dishes, bowls and basins, plates and salt-cellars, trenchers, wine and
water flagons, sauce-spoons, salad-spoons, conserve-spoons, and
innumerable other articles. Here, too, we find, upon the mighty
sideboard mounted by its forty silver stairs, such objects as the

"A gold cup with festoon-work above and beneath, wrought with leaves in
relief. At the top of the foot there issue some leaves that fall down
over a small gold staple, and below this, about the narrowest part of
the foot, are leaves in relief and several dolphins. The broad part of
the foot is decorated with festoons. The lid of this cup is wrought with
leaves in relief, and on the crest thereof is a lion, crowned. The cup
weighs three hundred and fifty-one _castellanos_ and a half."

"A Castilian jar from which my lord the duke was wont to drink, weighing
two marks and five ounces."[58]

  [58] The mark was a standard of eight ounces, and was divided into fifty

"A cup with a high foot, gilt all over, with the figure of a woman in
its midst, and decorated in four places in the Roman manner."

"A flagon of white silver, flat beneath the stem, with a screw-top
surmounted by a small lion; for cooling water."

"A small silver dish, of the kind they call meat-warmers."

"A large silver seal for sealing provisions, with the arms of my lord
the duke, Don Francisco."

"A large silver vessel, embossed, with a savage on top."

"A gold horse, enamelled in white upon a gold plate enamelled in green
and open at the top; also a wolf, upon another gold plate enamelled in
green, with lettering round about it; also a green enamelled lizard upon
blue enamel; and a gold toothpick with four pieces enamelled in green,
white, and rose; also a small gold column enamelled in black and rose."

"A silver lemon-squeezer, gilt and chiselled, with white scroll-work
about the mesh thereof, through which the lemon-juice is strained."

"A large round silver salt-cellar, in two halves, gilt all over, with
scales about the body, and two thick twisted threads about the flat
part. One side of it is perforated."

Among the property of the duchess, Doña Mencía Enriquez, we find "a
small gold padlock, which opens and closes by means of letters"; two
gold bangles; a gold necklace consisting of forty-two pieces "enamelled
with some B's";[59] a gold signet ring with the duchess's arms; and "a
gold and niello box with relics, for wearing round the neck." Also,
resting on a table covered with silver plates, "a box of combs; the said
box wrought in gold upon blue leather, containing five combs, a
looking-glass, a little brush, and other fittings; girt with a cord in
gold and blue silk."

  [59] For Beltran de la Cueva, ancestor of this family.

The seventeenth century and a race of native Spanish kings declined and
passed away together. A dynasty of France succeeded to the throne of
Spain, and with the foreigner came a fresh reactionary movement towards
the neo-classic art, coupled with the canons of French taste. Henceforth
a century of slow political reform goes hand in hand with slow
suppression of the salient parts of Spanish character. Madrid transforms
or travesties herself into a miniature Versailles, and national arts and
crafts belong henceforward to a Frenchified society which found its
painter in Goya, just as the preceding and eminently Spanish society had
found its painter in Velazquez.

Another of the causes of the falling-off in Spanish _orfebrería_ at this
time, is stated to have been the craftsmen's overwhelming tendency to
substitute the slighter though venerable and beautiful gold or silver
filigree (Plate xviii.), for more artistic and ambitious, if less showy
work in massive metal. Thus, in 1699, a supplementary chapter of the
Ordinances of Seville complained in bitter phrases of this tendency,
denouncing it as "a source of fraud and detriment to the republic," and
deploring that "of the last few years we have forsaken our goodly usages
of older times, in the matter of the drawings entrusted to the
candidates who come before us for examination."

In the same year the goldsmiths' and the silversmiths' guild of Seville
enacted that none of its members were to work in filigree, unless they
were qualified to execute the other work as well. Such efforts to
suppress this evil were not new. More than a century before, on April
15th, 1567, the inspectors of the guild had entered the shop of Luis de
Alvarado, silversmith, and seized some filigree earrings "of the work
that is forbidden," breaking these objects on the spot, and imposing a
fine of half-a-dozen ducats on the peccant or oblivious Alvarado.[60]

  [60] Gestoso, _Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanos_, vol. ii. p. 134.

The modern gold and silver work of Spain is thus exempted from a lengthy
notice, seeing that its typical and national characteristics have
succumbed, or very nearly so. I may, however, mention the giant silver
candelabra in the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca, which were made at
Barcelona, between 1704 and 1718, by Juan Matons and three of his
assistants. They measure eight feet high by four feet and a quarter
across, weigh more than eight thousand ounces, and cost 21,942 pounds,
15 _sueldos_, and 11 _dineros_ of Majorcan money. The State seized them
during the Napoleonic wars, in order to melt them down for money; but
the chapter of the cathedral bought them back for eleven thousand

                          [Illustration: XVIII
                   (_Church of Saint Isidore, León_)]

During this century Riaño mentions several factories of silver articles
established at Madrid, including that of Isaac and Michael Naudin (1772)
and the Escuela de Platería (1778), protected by Charles the Third; but
since the work of these was purely in the French or English manner, they
call for no particular notice. The principal objects they produced were
"inkstands, dishes, dinner-services, chocolate-stands, cruets, knives
and forks, together with buckles, needle-cases, brooches, snuff-boxes,
frames for miniatures, and similar trinkets."

Early in the nineteenth century Laborde wrote that "the fabrication of
articles of gold and silver might become an important object in a
country where these metals abound; but it is neglected, and the demand
is almost entirely supplied from foreign markets. What little they do in
this branch at home is usually very ill executed, and exorbitantly dear.
Madrid, however, begins to possess some good workmen; encouragement
would increase their number and facilitate the means of improvement; but
manual labour is there excessively dear. Hence the Spaniards prefer
foreign articles of this kind, which, notwithstanding the expense of
carriage, the enormous duties that they pay, and the profits of the
merchants, are still cheaper than those made at home."

Several of the inherent characteristics of the national _orfebrería_ may
yet be noticed somewhat faintly in the ornaments and jewels of the
Spanish peasants, though even these are being discarded. A century ago
Laborde described the dress of the Mauregata women, near Astorga, in the
kingdom of León. "They wear large earrings, a kind of white turban, flat
and widened like a hat, and their hair parted on the forehead. They have
a chemise closed over the chest, and a brown corset buttoned, with
large sleeves opening behind. Their petticoats and veils are also brown.
Over all they wear immense coral necklaces, which descend from the neck
to the knee; they twist them several times round the neck, pass them
over the shoulders, where a row is fastened, forming a kind of bandage
over the bosom. Then another row lower than this; in short, a third and
fourth row at some distance from each other. The last falls over the
knee, with a large cross on the right side. These necklaces or chaplets
are ornamented with a great many silver medals, stamped with the figure
of saints. They only wear these decorations when not working, or on

I have a manuscript account in French of Spanish regional costumes at
the same period. The dress of the peasant women of Valencia is thus
described: "Elle se coiffe toujours en cheveux, de la manière appelée
_castaña_, et elle y passe une aiguille en argent que l'on nomme
_rascamoño_; quelque fois elle se pare d'un grand peigne (_peineta_) en
argent doré. Son cou este orné d'une chaine d'or ou d'argent (_cadena
del cuello_) à laquelle est suspendue une croix ou un reliquaire." This
was the Valencian peasant's dress for every day. On festivals the same
woman would adorn her ears with "pendants (_arracadas_) de pierres
fausses; mais lorsque la jardinière est riche, elles sont fines. Une
relique (_relicario_) dans un petit médaillon en argent, est suspendue à
son cou; ainsi qu'un chapelet très mince (_rosario_) en argent doré."

The peasant women of Iviza, in the Balearics, are described in the same
manuscript as wearing "un collier en verre, quelque fois en argent, et
rarement en or"; while Laborde wrote of Minorca, another of these
islands, that "the ladies are always elegantly adorned; their ornaments
consist of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and chaplets. _The
peasants wear these also._" Of the women of Barcelona he said: "Silk
stockings are very common in every class; and their shoes are
embroidered with silk, gold, silver, pearls, and spangles."

But Spain, like Italy or Switzerland, or many another country, is
throwing off her regional costumes, of which these various jewels form a
prominent and even an essential feature. More rarely now we come across
the gold and seed-pearl necklaces of Salamanca, the Moorish filigree
silver-work of Cordova, the silver-gilt necklaces of Santiago, and the
heavy _arracadas_, hung with emeralds and sapphires, of Cataluña.
Murcia, nevertheless, retains her Platería, a street of venerable aspect
and associations, where to this hour the oriental-looking silver
pendants of the neighbourhood are made and trafficked in.



The ancient iron mines of Spain were no less celebrated than her mines
of silver and of gold. Nevertheless, the history of Spanish iron-work
begins comparatively late. Excepting certain swords and other weapons
which require to be noticed under _Arms_, and owing to the commonness
and cheapness of this metal, as well as to the ease with which it
decomposes under damp, few of the earliest Spanish objects made of iron
have descended to our time.[61] Even Riaño pays but little notice to
this craft in the Peninsula before the second half of the fifteenth
century. Henceforth, he says, "it continued to progress in the
sixteenth, and produced, undoubtedly, at that period works which were
unrivalled in Europe."

  [61] A small collection, formed by Don Emilio Rotondo, of primitive iron
       rings, bracelets, brooches, and other ornaments, is preserved in
       the Schools of Aguirre at Madrid. Villa-amil y Castro
       (_Antigüedades prehistóricas y célticas_, and _Castros y Mamoas de
       Galicia_, published in the _Museo Español de Antigüedades_),
       describes some iron objects of uncertain use discovered in Galicia,
       together with spear-heads and other weapons or pieces of weapons
       which will be noticed under _Arms_, and also an object which he
       says may once have been a candlestick, or else a kind of flute. All
       these are probably pre-Roman. Dating from the Roman period are an
       iron ploughshare and some sickles, discovered at Ronda in
       Andalusia, and now in the Madrid Museum. Góngora, however
       (_Antigüedades prehistóricas de Andalucía_), inclines to think that
       previous to the Roman conquest the occupants of Betica were
       ignorant of this metal, though not of gold, from which they
       fashioned diadems and other articles of wear. See also Caballero
       Infante, _Aureos y barras de oro y plata encontrados en el pueblo
       de Santiponce_, Seville, 1898.

The decorative iron-work of Spain may suitably be dealt with in three
classes: railings, screens, or pulpits of churches, chapels, and
cathedrals; balconies and other parts or fittings applied to public or
private buildings of a non-ecclesiastical character; and smaller, though
not necessarily less attractive or important objects, such as knockers,
locks and keys, and nail-heads.

The last of these divisions, as embracing Spanish-Moorish craftsmanship,
shall have, as far as order is concerned, our preferential notice.

Surely, in the whole domain of history, no object has a grander
symbolism than the key. In mediæval times the keys of cities, castles,
towns, and fortresses were held to be significant of ownership, or
vigilance, or conquest. Especially was this the case in Spain--a nation
incessantly engaged in war. Probably in no country in the world has the
ceremony of delivering up this mark of tenure of a guarded and defended
place occurred so often as here. Do we not read of it in stirring
stanzas of her literature? Do we not find it in her paintings, on her
stone and metal _rilievi_, or carved in wood upon the stalls of her
cathedrals? Therefore the key, just like the sword, seemed, in the warm
imagination of the Spaniards, to be something almost sacred. The
legislative codes of Old Castile are most minute in their relation of
its venerated attributes. Nor were the Spanish Muslims less alive to its
importance than their foe, taking it also for an emblem of their own,
and planting it in lordly eminence upon their gates and towers of
Cordova, and Seville, and Granada. For what was Tarik's Mountain but the
key of the narrow gate that led to their enchanted land, as sunny as,
and yet less sultry than, their sandy home; truly a land of promise to
the fiery children of the desert, panting for the paradise that smiled
at them across the storied strip of emerald and sapphire water?

So was it that both Moors and Spaniards made their keys of fortresses
and citadels almost into an object of their worship. In hearing or in
reading of such keys, the mind at once recurs to those of Seville (Plate
xix.), two in number, famed throughout the world of mediæval art, and
stored among the holiest relics in the sacristy of her cathedral. The
larger is of silver, in the style now known as Mudejar, and dates from
the second half of the thirteenth century. The length is rather more
than eight inches, and the whole key is divided into five compartments,
ornamented in enamels and in gold. Castles, ships, and lions adorn the
thicker portion of the stem between the barrel proper and the handle;
and on the rim of the latter is this inscription, in Hebrew

"_The King of Kings will open; the king of all the land shall

  [62] Riaño's reading was, "_the King of the whole Earth will enter_."
       But is not this contradicted by the other inscription on the same

The wards are also beautifully carved into the following legend,
distributed in two rows, one superposed upon the other, of two words
and of ten letters apiece:--

               "_Dios abrirá; Rey entrará._"
               "_God will open; the king shall enter._"

The iron key is purely Moorish, smaller than its fellow, and measures
just over six inches. Like the other, it consists of five divisions, and
the wards are in the form of an inscription in African Cufic characters,
which Gayangos and other Arabists have variously interpreted. Five of
the commonest readings are as follows:--

(1) "_May Allah permit that the rule (of Islam) last for ever in this

(2) "_By the grace of God may (this key) last for ever._"

(3) "_May peace be in the King's mansion._"

(4) "_May God grant us the boon of the preservation of the city._"

(5) "_To God (belongs) all the empire and the power._"

Our earliest tidings of this iron key are from the Jesuit Bernal, who
wrote in the seventeenth century. It was not then the property of the
cathedral chapter, for Ortiz de Zúñiga says that it belonged, in the
same century, to a gentleman of Seville named Don Antonio Lopez de Mesa,
who had inherited it from his father. Tradition declares that both this
key and its companion were laid at the feet of Ferdinand the Third by
Axataf, governor of Seville, when the city capitulated to the Christian
prince on November 23rd, 1248. But Ortiz is careful to inform us that he
neither countenances nor rejects the popular notion that the iron key
was thus delivered as the token of surrender, "although," he says, "the
owners of it are strongly of this judgment." What we do know is that on
June 16th, 1698, the iron key was presented to the cathedral by Doña
Catalina Basilia Domonte y Pinto, niece of the Señor Lopez de Mesa
aforesaid; and that the chapter forthwith accepted it with solemn
gratitude as "one of the keys delivered by the Moors to the Rey Santo on
the conquest of the city," ordering it to be guarded in a special box.

Such is the popular fancy still accepted by the Sevillanos. However,
Amador de los Ríos has sifted out a good deal of the truth, showing that
the iron and the silver key are wrought in different styles, and were
intended for a different purpose. He places the iron instrument among
the "keys of conquered cities," and its silver neighbour among the "keys
of honour, or of dedication"; and he declares as certain (although the
reasons he adduces do not quite convince me) that this iron key is
actually the one which figured in the ceremony of surrender. The other
he considers to have been a gift from the Sevillians to the tenth
Alfonso, son of Ferdinand the saint and conqueror, as a loyal and a
grateful offering in return for his protection of their industries and
commerce. However this may be, the decorative aspect of the larger key,
together with the choice material of which it is made, appears to prove
that it was not associated with the rigours of a siege, but served in
some way as a symbol of prosperity and peace. It was a common custom at
a later age for Spanish cities to present their sovereign, when he came
among them, with a richly ornamented key. Such keys were offered to
Charles the Fifth and Philip the Second when, in 1526 and 1570,
respectively, they visited Seville; while Riaño reminds us that "even in
the present day the ceremony is still kept up of offering a key to the
foreign princes who stay at the royal palace of Madrid." Similarly, as
an ordinary form of salutation, does the well-bred Spaniard place his
house at your disposal.

Five Moorish keys--one of bronze and four of iron--are in the Museum of
Segovia, and bear, as Amador observes, a general resemblance to the iron
key of Seville. The wards of four of them are shaped into the following
inscriptions: the first key, "_In Secovia_ (Segovia)"; the second,
"(_This_) _key was curiously wrought at Medina Huelma, God protect
her_"; the third, "_Open_"; and the fourth, "_This work is by

The first and smallest of these keys informs us, therefore, that it was
manufactured at Segovia. The third key is that which is of bronze, and
bears the word "_Open_," probably addressed to Allah. The second, which
is also the largest and the most artistic and ornate, belonged, we read
upon its wards, to Huelma, a fortress-town upon the frontiers of the
kingdom of Granada. This town was wrested from the Moors on April 20th,
1438, by Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, first Marquis of Santillana, who
possibly sent this key to Castile as a present to his sovereign, Juan
the Second, in company with the usual papers of capitulation.

Other Moorish keys are scattered over Spain in various of her public and
private collections, though none are so remarkable as those of Seville
and Segovia. The town of Sepúlveda possesses seven early iron keys,
several of which are Moorish. Others are at Burgos, Valencia, Palma,
Jaen, and Granada. At the last-named city the following key, dating
undoubtedly from the period of the Muslim domination, was discovered, in
1901, among the débris of the Palace of Seti Meriem.[63]

  [63] _La Alhambra_ (from which this sketch is taken) for September 30th,
       1901; article on the Palace of Seti Meriem, by F. de Paula


Keys of awe-inspiring magnitude are still preferred among the Spaniards
to a handier and slighter instrument, this people seeming to believe
that the bigger the key the more inviolable is the custody which it
affords--a theory not at all upheld by modern experts in this venerable
craft. Perhaps this singular and local preference is derived from
Barbary. At any rate it still obtains across the Strait. "Our host,"
wrote Mr Cunninghame Graham in _Mogreb-El-Acksa_, "knocks off great
pieces from a loaf of cheap French sugar with the key of the house,
drawing it from his belt and hammering lustily, as the key weighs about
four ounces, and is eight or nine inches long." Of such a length are
nearly all the house-keys of contemporary Spain; and with this apparatus
bulging in his belt the somnolent _sereno_ or night-watchman of this
sleepy, unprogressive, Latino-Mussulmanic land prowls to this hour along
the starlit streets of Barcelona, Seville, or Madrid.

The city Ordinances of Granada form a valuable and interesting link
between the Spanish-Moorish craftsmanship and that of Spaniards
Christian-born. The _Ordenanzas de Cerrageros_, or Locksmiths'
Ordinances, though not voluminous, are curious and informative beyond
the rest, and show us that a general rascality was prevalent in Granada
after her reconquest from the Moor. Locksmiths were forbidden now to
make a lock the impression of which was put into their hands in wax,
even if the order should be sweetened by "a quantity of maravedis,"
since the effect of such commissions, whose very secrecy betrayed
illicit and improper ends in view, was stated to be "very greatly
perilous and mischief-making."

Another Ordinance reveals the Christian locksmiths of Granada as arrant
scoundrels, almost as troublesome to deal with as the pestering little
shoeblacks of to-day. "Word is brought us," groaned the aldermen, "how
many locksmiths, foreigners that dwell within this city as well as
naturals that go up and down our thoroughfares, in taking locks and
padlocks to repair, do, at the same time that they set the keys in
order, contrive to fit them with new wards inferior to the older ones,
so as to be able to open and close them with the keys they have
themselves in store, wherein is grave deceitfulness, seeing that the
aforesaid locks and padlocks may be opened in such wise without a key at

  [64] _Ordenanzas de Granada_, p. 191.

If we except the vast dimensions of the common keys of houses, this
branch of Spanish craftsmanship has now no quality to point it from the
rest of Europe, having become, in Riaño's words, "simply practical and
useful." Laborde observed in 1809 that "locks and various iron utensils
are made in divers places. Locksmiths are numerous at Vega de Ribadeo in
Galicia, at Helgoivar in Biscay, at Vergara in Guipuscoa, at Solsona and
Cardona in Catalonia. Different kinds of iron goods are manufactured at
Vergara, Solsona, and Cardona. The articles made of iron and steel at
Solsona are in high estimation, notwithstanding they are destitute of
taste and elegance, badly finished, and worse polished; and can by no
means be put in competition with similar articles introduced from other

  [65] Those of my readers who have visited Spain will probably have seen
       the inlaid iron-work of Eibar and Toledo. The objects chiefly
       manufactured in this style are brooches, bracelets, scarf and hat
       pins, photograph frames, jewel and trinket boxes, watches, and
       cigarette cases. The workmanship is often elaborate and costly, nor
       can it be denied that the red or greenish gold has an effective
       look against the jet-black surface of the polished or unpolished
       iron. Upon the other hand, the taste displayed in the design is
       seldom good; while in a climate with the slightest tendency to
       damp, the iron is apt to rust and tarnish, and the fine inlay to

Iron nails with ornamented heads and decorative door-knockers are other
objects which reveal the influence of Mohammedan Spain. A number of
artistic Spanish nails are in the South Kensington Museum. "Some doors,"
says Riaño, "still exist at the Alhambra, Granada, covered with enormous
heads of nails of a half-spherical form with embossed pattern. These
same nails are constantly to be found on old Spanish houses, to which
are added in the angles pieces of iron of a most artistic order" (Pl.
xix.A). In the same city, though not precisely in the Alhambra, I
have seen upon the doors of private houses nails of a decorative kind
which appear to consist of a single piece, but which are really formed
of two--an ornamental boss perforated through its centre, and the nail
proper, which fastens through it to the woodwork of the door behind.
Thus, when the nail is hammered tight upon the boss, the effect is
naturally that of a single piece of metal. Similar nails are on the door
of Tavera's hospital at Toledo.

                          [Illustration: XIX_a_
                         DECORATIVE NAIL-HEADS
                  (_Convent of San Antonio, Toledo_)]

The _Ordenanzas_ of Granada tell us minutely of the nails which were
produced there in the sixteenth century. They were denominated
_cabriales_, _costaneros_, _palmares_, _bolayques_, _vizcainos_,
sabetinos, and _moriscos_; of all of which I can only find that the
_cabriales_ and _costaneros_ were used for beams and rafters, and the
_moriscos_ for fixing horse-shoes. In Spain the custom of fastening down
the decorative coverings of chairs or benches dates from comparatively
late; and it was probably with this innovation that iron-workers began
to exercise their ingenuity upon the heads of nails.

Towards the close of the Middle Ages the city of Segovia was celebrated
for her locks and keys, her knockers, and her _rejas_. In 1892,
collections of iron objects, chiefly manufactured in this town, were
shown by the duke of Segovia, Don Nicolás Duque, and Don Adolfo Herrera
at the Exposición Histórico-Europea of Madrid. Segovia still preserves
an old door covered with extraordinary iron spikes, that once belonged
to the castle of Pedraza; many curious balconies, such as that in a
first floor of the Calle del Carmen; and the grilles--proceeding from
the old cathedral--of the chapel of the Cristo del Consuelo and the
chapel of the Piedad.

Another interesting collection of early decorative Spanish iron,
belonging to the well-known painter, Señor Rusiñol, is kept at the town
of Sitjes, in Cataluña. The late Marquis of Arcicollar possessed a
number of specimens of Spanish manufactured iron of the later Middle
Ages, such as boxes, candelabra, locks, nails, door-knockers,
_braseros_, and a rare and curious iron desk (fourteenth century), with
leather fittings.

The collection of the late Count of Valencia de Don Juan included four
door-knockers of Spanish iron, dating from late in the fifteenth century
or early in the sixteenth. I give a reproduction of these knockers (Pl.
xx.). The two which occupy the centre are evidently from a sacred
building; while the other pair are just as evidently _señoriales_, and
belonged to a noble house. In the former pair, the clumsy carving of the
saints, Peter and James, is attributed by Serrano Fatigati to the native
coarseness of the iron.

                            [Illustration: XX
                           (_15th Century_)]

Proceeding from the same collection are a pair of ceremonial maces and a
ceremonial lantern, which I also reproduce (Pl. xxi.), since the Spanish
writer from whom I have just quoted pronounces them to be "excellent
specimens of the iron-work of our country at the close of the Middle
Ages." He says that, as we notice in the pinnacles, they show a tendency
to copy architectural detail, and are otherwise characteristic of the
period. Towards the fourteenth century the file replaced the hammer, and
the sheet of iron was substituted for the bar. These objects, dating
from the fifteenth century, duly reveal this change. Also, as was usual
at the time, they are composed of separate pieces stoutly riveted. In
the knockers with the figures of the saints "we notice the partial use
of the chisel, which became general in the sixteenth century, at the
same time that iron objects were loaded with images, forms of animals,
and other capricious figures. These may be said to belong to a period
of transition, culminating in the _rejas_."[66]

  [66] Serrano Fatigati, in the _Boletín de la Sociedad Española de

The Madrid Museum contains a sixteenth-century cross of _repoussé_ iron,
in the Greek form, and which is certainly of Spanish make. According to
Villa-amil, it formerly had a gilded border and was painted black, which
leads this writer to suppose that it was used at funerals. Iron crosses
may be seen occasionally on churches and on other public buildings, and
Stirling has inserted cuts of several in his _Annals of the Artists of
Spain_. Crosses of large size were sometimes planted on the highway.
Such was the elaborate but ugly iron cross, measuring three yards in
height, made by Sebastian Conde in 1692 for the Plazuela de la
Cerrajeriá in Seville, and now preserved in her Museum.

The iron balustrade or _verja_ of the marble tomb of Cardinal Cisneros
is finely wrought in Plateresque-Renaissance, with elaborate designs of
gryphons, foliage, urns, birds, masks, sheep's heads, swans, coats of
arms, dolphins, and other ornament in great profusion. The craftsman was
Nicolás de Vergara the elder. Lesser in size, though not less
striking in its execution, is the railing, by Francisco de Villalpando,
which surrounds the _Altar de Prima_ in the choir of Toledo Cathedral.

                           [Illustration: XXI
                      CEREMONIAL MACES AND LANTERN
                           (_15th Century_)]

"Iron pulpits," says Riaño, "have been made in Spain with great
success." He mentions five: two in Avila Cathedral (Plate xxii.); two at
Seville; and one at the church of San Gil at Burgos. The latter is
described by Street, who says: "It is of very late date, end of the
fifteenth century, but I think it quite worthy of illustration. The
support is of iron, resting on stone, and the staircase modern. The
framework at the angles, top and bottom, is of wood, upon which the
iron-work is laid. The traceries are cut out of two plates of iron, laid
one over the other, and the iron-work is in part gilded, but I do not
think that this is original. The canopy is of the same age and
character, and the whole effect is very rich at the same time that it is
very novel. I saw other pulpits, but none so old as this."

The iron pulpits of Salamanca, "covered with bas-reliefs representing
the Evangelists and subjects taken from the Acts of the Apostles and the
apocalypse," were made at the same time as the _reja_ by Fray Francisco
de Zalamea or Salamanca, Fray Juan, and other artists. The two at Avila
are stationed one on either side of the Capilla Mayor, and are of gilded
iron, hexagonal in form, and measuring about ten feet in height.
Gryphons or other beasts support the pulpit on its stem or column. The
body of each pulpit bears the arms of the cathedral, namely, the _Agnus
Dei_, a lion, and a castle--the whole surmounted by a crown--and is
divided lengthways by a central band into a double tier, closed by a
richly decorated cornice at the upper and the lower border. Otherwise
the pulpits are quite dissimilar. In one the decorative scheme is almost
purely geometrical, while in the other it consists of foliage, birds and
beasts, and niches containing statuettes of saints. The stair-railings
are modern; but the primitive carving still adorns the end of every

  [67] For a detailed account of these pulpits see Villa-amil y Castro's
       article in the _Museo Español de Antigüedadess_.

                           [Illustration: XXII
                              IRON PULPIT
                          (_Avila Cathedral_)]

We do not know who was the maker of these pulpits. Some believe him to
have been a certain Juan Francés, to whom our notice will again be
called as figuring among the earliest masters of this eminently Spanish
craft, and who, on strongish evidence, is thought to be the author of
the _rejas_ in the same cathedral which enclose the choir, and the
front and sides of the Capilla Mayor. This is the only reason for
supposing him to have made the pulpits also. One of these, however, is
in the Flamboyant, and the other in the Renaissance style; so it may
well be doubted whether both were produced by the same hand, or even at
exactly the same period.[68]

  [68] Payments made to "Master Juan Francés" are recorded by Zarco del
       Valle, _Documentos Inéditos para la Historia de las Bellas Artes
       en España_, pp. 320, 321.

It is, however, in the _rejas_ that the craftsmanship of older Spain
attains its loftiest pinnacle. They consist, says Banister Fletcher, of
"rich and lofty grilles in hammered and chiselled iron ... strongly
characteristic of the national art. The formality of the long and
vertical bars is relieved by figures beaten in _repoussé_, in
duplicates, attached back to back, and by crestings and traceries
adapted to the material, and freely employed. Few things in Spain are
more original and artistic."[69]

  [69] _History of Architecture_, p. 303. They possess, too, the
       advantage, from their ponderous solidity and fixedness, that most
       of them are still extant and in the best of preservation, although
       Napoleon's Vandals rooted up the chapel _rejas_ of the Church of
       Santo Domingo at Granada, and turned them into bullets; just as
       their general, Sebastiani, threw down the tower of San Jerónimo to
       make a trumpery bridge across the trickling stream of the Genil.
       Scores of thousands of such crimes, not to forget the blowing up
       of the gate and tower of the Siete Suelos, were perpetrated by the
       French all over Spain; yet Washington Irving, in a strangely
       infelicitous passage of his _Tales of the Alhambra_, congratulates
       the invaders for their reverential treatment of the noblest
       monuments of Spanish art!

The _reja_ generally was not, as many have supposed, of late invention.
It existed from the earliest days of Christianity; but it was only in
the Gothic and Renaissance ages that Spain converted it into a vehicle
for decorative art. The growth of these ornamental _rejas_ may be traced
in cities of Old Castile, together with Seville, Salamanca, Cuenca, and
Toledo. Spain, it is idle to observe, was at no moment so appreciative
of her craftsmen as was Italy, so that our information as to mediæval
Spanish craftsmen and the process of their lives and labours is, upon
the whole, deplorably deficient. Nevertheless, among the oldest of her
artists known in Spanish as _rejeros_, or (a finer and more venerable
term) _"reja_-masters"--_maestros de rexas_--appears Juan Francés,
working in 1494 in Toledo Cathedral and, in the same capacity (for he
seems to have been an armourer besides, and to have held the title of
"master-maker of iron arms in Spain")[70] at Alcalá de Henares, as well
as, in 1505, at Osma, in whose cathedral he made the _rejas_ of the
choir and high chapel.[71]

  [70] So, in Spain, does war appear to have been connected even with the
       peaceful _reja_. Similarly, in 1518, the contractors for the grille
       of the Chapel Royal of Granada were Juan Zagala and Juan de
       Cubillana, "master-artillerymen to their highnesses." Valladar,
       _Guía de Granada_, 1st ed., p. 302, note.

  [71] A quaint but somewhat tautological and prosy letter
       concerning matters of his craft, addressed by Francés to the
       cardinal-archbishop of Toledo, is published in the _Museo Español
       de Antigüedades_, article _Los Púlpitos de la Catedral de Avila_,
       by Villa-amil y Castro. The _reja_ of the presbytery at Burgo de
       Osma is thus inscribed: "_Izo esta obra maestre Joan Francés
       maestre mayor._" The top consists of repetitions of a shield
       containing five stars and supported by angels, lions, and gryphons.
       Two iron pulpits project from the lower part of the grille, and a
       swan of the same metal, with extended wings, rests upon either

Although the craftsman's name has rarely been recorded, we know that
excellent _rejería_ was made at Barcelona in the fifteenth century. Also
dating from the fifteenth century, and therefore prior to the
Plateresque, is the _reja_, ornamented with leaves and figures of
centaurs and other creatures, mythical and real, enclosing the sepulchre
of the Anayas in the old cathedral of Salamanca. During the first
quarter of the sixteenth century much work in decorative _rejería_ was
completed in Seville Cathedral by Fernando Prieto, Fray Francisco de
Salamanca,[72] Sancho Muñoz, Diego de Adrobo, and others (_vide_
Frontispiece). Taught by these, while yet belonging to a slightly later
time, and linking in this way the riper and decadent Gothic with the new
Renaissance and the Plateresque, were Pedro de Andino, Antonio de
Palencia, and Juan Delgado. Rosell observes that without doubt these
artists, excepting only Juan Francés--the pioneer of them all--were
Spanish-born; and they in their turn were succeeded by other Spaniards
who worked most regularly at Toledo; such as Bartolomé Rodriguez, Luis
de Peñafiel, and Francisco de Silva.

  [72] A Dominican friar, summoned to Seville in 1518, to make her
       cathedral _rejas_. He also made the pulpits of the high altar in
       1531, and was working in this city as late as 1547. Account-sheets
       penned by his hand were still extant a century ago, and Cean
       conveys to us some knowledge of Fray Francisco, receiving as the
       wages of his labour, now a score or so of ducats, now a bushel or
       two of corn. The friar, whom the canons spoke of with affection for
       his many virtues, seems to have been a handy man, seeing that
       between his spells of _reja_-making he put the clock of the Giralda
       into trim, and built an alarum apparatus to rouse the cathedral
       bell-ringer at early morning.

       For the sums paid to Fray Francisco and to Sancho Muñoz for their
       work, see Gestoso, _Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanos_, vol. ii.
       pp. 365 _et seq._

An excellent _rejero_ named Hernando de Arenas completed the grille of
Cuenca Cathedral in 1557. Three years before, a Cordovese, Fernando de
Valencia, had made the intricate Renaissance _reja_ of the Chapel of the
Asunción in the mosque of that most ancient capital--a noble piece of
work, which still exists. Other _rejeros_ who were either natives of, or
who resided in, this city were Pedro Sanchez, Alonso Perez, Pedro
Sanchez Cardenosa, Francisco Lopez, Juan Martinez Cano, and Diego de

One of these men, Alonso Perez, a native of Jaen, contracted, on April
13th, 1576, to make the _rejas_ of the Capilla Mayor in the church of
the convent of the Trinity at Cordova. He was to finish them within one
year, at a cost of fifty-one _maravedis_ for every pound of iron, of
sixteen ounces to the pound. Ramírez de Arellano, who has extracted
these notices of Cordovese artists from the city archives[73], says that
the _reja_ in question is no longer standing; but a document of the time
informs us that it was of an elaborate character, and carried
architraves, cornices, and the usual decorative detail of the Spanish

  [73] Consult his valuable studies, _Artistas exhumados_, published in
       various numbers of the _Boletín de la Sociedad Española de

In 1593 Pedro Sanchez agreed to make, within four years, a grille for
the old chapel of the Concepción, also in Cordova, at a cost of
forty-nine maravedis for every pound of iron that the finished _reja_
should contain; and a year later the same artist signed a contract for
what is thought to be his masterpiece--the _reja_ of the chapel of the
Holy Cross, in the nave of the _sagrario_ of the same temple. The
stipulated time was two years only; but the cost amounted in this
instance to one hundred maravedis for every pound of the completed

Marvels of power and of patience are among the _rejas_ of this land. In
them, obedient to the genius of the craftsman, the ponderous metal
assumes the gossamer lightness of the finest gauze, now seeming to be
breathed rather than built across the entrance to some side-chapel, now
tapering skyward till we fancy it to melt away, like vapour, on the
surface of the lofty roof. Such are the screens--which here demand a
brief description--of Toledo and Palencia and Granada; that of Cuenca,
where Arenas plied his master-hand; and, first in merit of them all,
the peerless _reja_, royal in magnificence and faultless taste, that
closes in at Burgos the no less royal-looking chapel of a Count of Haro,
sometime Constable of all Castile.

The _reja_ of the Capilla Mayor of Toledo Cathedral is twenty-one feet
high by forty-six in breadth. "Armies of workmen," wrote Méndez Silva,
referring to this screen and to its neighbour, that of the _coro_, "were
toiling at them for ten years, nor would their cost have been greater
had they been of founded silver." The cost of which he speaks was more
than a quarter of a million _reales_, although the workmen's daily wage
was only two _reales_ and a half, or, in the case of the particularly
skilled, four _reales_.

The author of this admirable screen was Francisco de Villalpando, whose
plans and estimate were approved by Cardinal Tavera in 1540. "The _reja_
consists of two tiers resting on different kinds of marble. Attic
columns ornamented with handsome _rilievi_ and terminated by bronze
caryatides, divide these tiers into several spaces. The upper tier is
formed by seven columns of ornate pattern, containing, on a frieze of
complicated tracery, figures of animals and angels, and other
delicately drawn and executed objects in relief. Upon the cornice are
coats of arms, angels, and other decoration; and in the centre, the
imperial arms of Charles the Fifth, together with a large crucifix
pendent from a massive gilded chain. On the frieze of the second tier
1548, and on the inner side, PLUS ULTRA." [74]

  [74] Rosell y Torres; _La Reja de la Capilla del Condestable en la
       Catedral de Burgos_, published in the _Museo Español de

                          [Illustration: XXIII
                         _REJA_ OF CHAPEL ROYAL
                         (_Granada Cathedral_)]

The other of the larger _rejas_ in this temple--that of the choir--is
not inferior in a great degree to Villalpando's masterpiece. It was made
by "Maestre" Domingo (de Céspedes),[75] who, in his estimate of June
18th, 1540, engaged to finish it at a total cost of 5000 ducats, "he to
be given the necessary gold and silver for the plating" (_Archives of
Toledo Cathedral_, quoted by Rosell). This Maestre Domingo was
aided by his son-in-law, Fernando Bravo, and both of them, says de la
Rada y Delgado, were probably natives of Toledo.[76] In the same city
they also made the _rejas_ for the Baptismal Chapel, and for the chapels
of the Reyes Viejos and Reyes Nuevos.

  [75] He is called Domingo de Céspedes by Cean Bermudez, although, as
       Zarco del Valle remarks, the surname does not appear in any of the
       documents relating to this craftsman which are yet preserved in the
       archives of Toledo cathedral. These documents merely tell us that
       Domingo was his Christian name, that his own signature was _Maestre
       Domingo_, and that he and Fernando Bravo were required to find
       surety to the value of 375,000 _maravedis_ for the faithful and
       expert performance of their work, which they were to complete
       within two years, receiving for it the sum of six thousand ducats.

  [76] Conde de Cedillo, _Toledo en el Siglo XVI_. Reply to the Count's
       address, by J. de Dios de la Rada y Delgado.

                           [Illustration: XXIV
                         _REJA_ OF CHAPEL ROYAL
               (_View from interior. Granada Cathedral_)]

Excellent Plateresque _rejas_ are those of the Capilla Mayor and Coro of
Palencia Cathedral--the latter from the hand of Gaspar Rodriguez of
Segovia, who finished it in 1571 at a cost of 3400 ducats. In the same
city is the _reja_ of the chapel of Nuestra Señora la Blanca, finished
in 1512 by Juan Relojero, a Palencian, who received for his labour
25,000 _maravedis_ and a load and a half of wheat.

The noble and colossal gilt and painted[77] _reja_ of the Chapel Royal
of Granada Cathedral was wrought between the years 1518 and 1523 by one
Master Bartholomew, whose name is near the keyhole. This was a person of
obscure life though mighty powers as a craftsman. We know that he
resided at Jaen, and, from a document which still remains,[78] that he
petitioned Charles the Fifth for payment (sixteen hundred ducats) of
this grille, because the clergy had continually refused to liquidate it.
He made, besides the work I herewith describe, the _reja_ of the
presbytery for Seville cathedral,[79] and possibly, as Sentenach
suggests, the iron tenebrarium, ten feet high by five across, for the
cathedral of Jaen.

  [77] The painting of a _reja_ was commonly executed by the
       "image-painter" (_pintor de imaginería_). As the term implies, it
       was this artist's business to gild or colour sacred furniture,
       such as altars, panels, images, and decorative doors and ceilings.

  [78] Archives of Simancas. _Descargos de las R.C._; _Legajo 23 prov._
       Valladar, _Guía de Granada_ (1st ed.), p. 302, note.

  [79] "To Master Bartholomew, _rexero_, twenty gold ducats for the days
       he took in travelling from Jaen, and for those on which he was at
       work upon the _reja_ of the high altar here in Seville." On
       March 18th, 1524, the same craftsman was paid 13,125 _maravedis_
       for making the "samples and other things belonging to the _reja_
       of the high altar."--_Libro de Fábrica_ of Seville Cathedral.
       Gestoso, _Sevilla Monumental y Artística_, and _Diccionario de
       Artífices Sevillanos_, vol. xi. p. 362.

The _reja_ of the Chapel Royal of Granada, "of two faces, the finest
that was ever made of this material," [80] has three tiers. "The first
tier contains six Corinthian pilasters and a broad frieze covered with
Plateresque ornamentation, as are the pedestals on which the pilasters
rest. In the second tier are the arms of Ferdinand and Isabella within
a garland supported by two lions, and other crowns together with the
yoke and arrows;[81] all intertwined with stems, leaves, and little
angels of an exquisite effect. Before the pilasters of this tier and of
the one immediately above it are figures of the apostles on Gothic
brackets--a style we also notice on the fastening of the gate and on the
twisted railing; but every other detail of the grille is Plateresque.
Upon the top are scenes of martyrdoms and of the life of Christ, the
whole surmounted by a decorative scheme of leaves and candelabra, and,
over this, a crucifix together with the figures of the Virgin and Saint
John. The designing of the figures is only moderately good, but all
remaining detail and the craftsmanship are admirable" [82] (Plates
xxiii. and xxiv.).

  [80] Pedraza, _Historia de Granada_ (1636), p. 40.

  [81] The yoke and sheaf of arrows were the emblems of these princes--the
       yoke, of Ferdinand; the arrows, of his queen. Shields of their
       reign, whether employed in architecture or on title-pages, almost
       invariably include these emblems and the well-known motto,
       _Tanto Monta_.

  [82] Gómez Moreno, _Guía de Granada_, p. 291.

Last on my list of Spanish _reja_-makers I place the greatest and most
honoured of them all--Cristóbal de Andino, who, as a modern writer has
expressed it, "uttered the last word in the matter of giving shape to
iron." Cristóbal, son of Pedro de Andino--himself an artist of no mean
capacity--excelled in architecture, sculpture, _rejería_, and probably
in silver-work as well. "Good craftsmen," wrote his contemporary, Diego
de Sagredo, "and those who wish their work to breathe the spirit of
authority and pass without rebuke, should follow--like your
fellow-townsman, Cristóbal de Andino--ancient precepts, in that his
works have greater elegance and beauty than any others that I witnessed
heretofore. If this (you think) be not the case, look at that _reja_ he
is making for my lord the Constable, which _reja_ is well known to be
superior to all others of this kingdom."

Such is the _reja_ thought, both then and now, to be the finest ever
made. The style is pure Renaissance. Two tiers of equal height consist
of four-and-twenty ornamented rails or balusters disposed, above,
between four columns; below, between four pilasters. An attic is upon
the cornice, and contains two central, semi-naked, kneeling figures
which support a large, crowned shield. This is surmounted by a bust of
God the Father, enclosed in a triangular frame, and raising the hand to
bless. On either side of the attic are S-shaped crests sustaining
circular medallions with the likenesses, in bold relief, of Christ and
Mary. Along the friezes are the legends; EGO SUM ALPHA ET [Greek:
omega]; EGO SUM LUX VERA; and ECCE ANCILLA DOMINI, together with the
words, referring to the artist, AB ANDINO, and the date A.D. MDXXIII.
The decorative scheme is spirited and delicate at once, whether we
observe it on the railing, pilasters, and columns, or on the horizontal
parts and members of the _reja_. The attic which surmounts the double
tier and cornice is finally surmounted by a gilt Saint Andrew's cross;
and the entire screen is lavishly painted and gilded throughout.

Here is a thing--almost a being--created out of iron, so intensely
lovely that the eye would wish to contemplate it to the end of time;
and, as we linger in its presence, if perchance the dead are privileged
to hear their earthly praises echoed in the silence of the tomb, surely
from his marble sepulchre Cristóbal de Andino listens to such praises at
this hour. For yonder, in the neighbouring parish church of San Cosmé,
beside a wife devoted and well-loved the great artificer is laid to
rest, where Latin words (although of idle purport while the _reja_ of
the Constable remains) are deep engraved to thus remind us of his


But if these splendid _rejas_ of her temples constitute to-day a special
glory of this nation, her private balconies and window-gratings were in
former times, though from profaner motives, almost or quite as notable.
Between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, few of the
foreigners who visited Spain omitted to record their admiration of these
balconies, crowded upon a holiday with pretty women. "Il y avoit," wrote
Bertaut de Rouen in 1659, "autant de foule à proportion qu'à Paris; et
mesme ce qu'il y avoit de plus beau, c'estoit que comme il y avoit des
balcons à toutes les fenestres et qu'elles estoient occupées par
toutes les dames de la ville, cela faisoit un plus bel effet que les
échaffauts que l'on fait dans les rues de Paris en semblables

                           [Illustration: XXV
                     (_Casa de Pilatos, Seville_)]

Pinheiro da Veiga, in his queer _Pincigraphia_, or "Description and
Natural and Moral History of Valladolid," written earlier in the same
century, and published twenty years ago by Gayangos from a manuscript in
the British Museum, is more plain-spoken than the Frenchman on the
various merits and peculiarities of the Spanish balconies and _rejas_.
"All of these churches have the most beautiful iron balustrades and iron
open-work doors (_cancelas_) that can be found in Europe, for nowhere is
iron worked so skilfully as here in Valladolid. These objects are made
by the Moriscos with turned balusters, foliage, boughs, fruits,
war-material, trophies, and other contrivances, which afterwards they
gild and silver into the very likeness of these metals. I say the same
of window-balconies; for nearly every window has its balcony. There are
in Valladolid houses up which one might clamber to the very roof from
balcony to balcony, as though these were a hand-ladder. So too from
balcony to balcony (for the distance from one to other is never greater
than a palm's breadth) one might climb round the whole Plaza. By reason
of this, we Portuguese were wont to say that if there were as many
thieves or lovers in Valladolid as in Portugal, verily both one and
other of this kind of folks would have but little need of hand-ladders.
Yet here the thieves content themselves with stealing by the light of
day, while as for the women (crafty creatures that they are!), they
perpetrate their thefts away from home; and, having all the day at their
disposal, prefer to thieve while daylight lasts, rather than pass the
night uncomfortably. To this I heard a lady of Castile declare, when one
of my friends, a Portuguese, petitioned her for leave to speak with her
at night across her _reja_: 'That would be tantamount to passing from
one _hierro_ to another _yerro_;[83] and in my house (which is also your
worship's) it would not look well for you to seem a window-climbing

  [83] _Hierro_ means _iron_; _yerro_, a _fault, faux pas_. Thus glossed,
       the somewhat feeble pleasantry or pun is able to explain itself.

                           [Illustration: XXVI
                  _REJA_ OF THE _CASA DE LAS CONCHAS_

It is curious, in the foregoing narrative, to read of Morisco craftsmen
working as late as 1600, and as far north as Castile. Perhaps the notice
of Moriscos doing Spanish iron-work may be traced to certain
Ordinances of Granada, published about three-quarters of a century
before. On October 14th, 1522, the councillors of that town confabulated
very lengthily and seriously as to the damage caused by "balconies and
_rejas_ in the streets, fixed in the basements and the lower rooms of
houses, or projecting portals which extend beyond the level of the wall.
For we have witnessed, and do witness daily, numerous mishaps to
wayfarers, alike on horseback and on foot, whether by day or night,
because the highways, narrow in themselves, are rendered yet more narrow
by such balconies and _rejas_. Whereas in winter persons seeking to
escape the filth by keeping to the wall are thwarted, or at night-time
injured, by these _rejas_. Or yet in summer, when the waters swell, and
conduits burst and overflow the middle of the street, then neither can
they keep the middle of the way, nor pass aside (by reason of the
balconies aforesaid) to its edges."

Having regard to all these grievances, the councillors decreed that
"none of whatsoever order or condition shall dare henceforth to place,
or cause to be placed, about the lower floors or entrance of their
dwelling, _rejas_ or iron balconies, or anything projecting much or
little from the level of the wall. But all projections shall be set
three yards, not any less, above the street. If not so much, they shall
be set within the wall, on pain of a fine of ten thousand _maravedis_,
and five thousand _maravedis_ to the mason and the carpenter that shall
repair their fixing. Further, we order that all balconies and _rejas_
now at a height of less than the aforesaid three yards be taken away
within three days from the crying in public of these Ordinances."[84]

  [84] These laws affecting balconies were not, or not as time went on,
       restricted to Granada. "Nobody," prescribes the general Spanish
       code in force in 1628, "shall make a balcony or oversailing part
       to fall upon the street, nor yet rebuild or repair any that shall
       fall."--Pradilla, _Suma de Todas las Leyes Penales, Canonicas,
       Civiles, y destos Reynos_.

For this deplorable state of things a double influence was to blame;
namely, the oriental narrowness of the street, and also the elaborate
ornamentation, proceeding very largely from a northern Gothic and
non-Spanish source, of these annoying yet impressive gratings. Some of
them, sweeping the very soil, and boldly and fantastically curved, may
yet be seen at Toro. Those of Granada are no more. Indeed, not only have
the _rejas_ of the Spanish private house long ceased to show the
decorative cunning of the craftsman, but even in their present
unartistic form are largely limited to Andalusia. Yet even thus, they
seem to guard a typical and national air, mixed with a subtle,
semi-Mussulmanic poetry. Across them, while the term of courtship lasts,
the lover whispers with his mistress, oblivious of the outer world,
fixing his gaze within, until his sultaness emerges from the gloom, and
holds his hand, and looks into his eyes, and listens to his vow.
Therefore, in "April's ivory moonlight," beneath the velvet skies of
Andalusia, one always is well pleased to pass beside these children of
romantic Spain, warming the frigid iron with the breath of youth, and
hope, and happiness, and telling to each other a secret that is known
unto us all--at once the sweetest and the saddest, the newest and the
oldest story of all stories.


The earliest objects of bronze discovered in this country are
comparatively few. As in other parts of Europe, they consist mostly of
weapons, such as spear-heads and hatchets (which will be noticed under
_Arms_), or bracelets, necklaces, and clasps or brooches. Earrings
(_inaures_), brooches (_fibulæ_), and other objects of a similar purpose
dating from the Roman period have been discovered in Galicia, while
plates of the same alloy[85] which imitate a shell were used as personal
ornaments by the men and women of the ancient Spanish tribes.

  [85] Le Hon reminds us, in _L'homme fossile_, that before the Iron Age
       all bronzes of our western world contained one part of tin to nine
       of copper.

The province of Palencia is a fertile field for archæological discovery.
Here have been found some curious clasps, intended, it would seem, to
represent the old Iberian mounted warrior, sometimes brandishing the
typical Iberian lance. The following is a sketch in outline of an
object of this kind, fashioned as clumsily and crudely as the cheapest
wooden plaything of our time:--


Two parts--the figure of the horseman, and a four-wheeled stand on which
the warrior's steed is resolutely set--compose this comical antiquity.
The rider's only article of clothing is a helmet; while the horse,
without a saddle or a bridle, is completely nude. This toy, or table
ornament, or whatever it may be, was found not far from Badajoz, where
other prehistoric bronzes are preserved in the museum of the
province;[86] and Mr E. S. Dodgson says that in possession of an
Englishman at Comillas he has seen another bronze rider of primitive
workmanship, with the head of a wild boar under his left arm. Those who
are interested in the meaning of these early bronzes should consult
an article, _El jinete ibérico_, by Señor Mélida, published in Nos.
90-92 of the _Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones_.

  [86] See Romero de Castilla, _Inventarios de los objetos recogidos en
       el Museo Arqueológico de la Comisión de Monumentos de Badajoz_.
       Badajoz, 1896. Plate xxvii. represents another of these objects.

                          [Illustration: XXVII
                           "MELEAGER'S HUNT"
                     (_Primitive Spanish Bronze_)]

We know that the use of Roman lamps grew to be general in this land--a
fact which justifies my noticing the specimens preserved in the museum
of Madrid; and more particularly so because their shape and general
character have been perpetuated through the Spanish Moors and Christians
of the Middle Ages till this very moment.

The Roman lamp, shaped somewhat like a boat by reason of the _rostrum_
or beakish receptacle for the wick, consisted of an earthenware or metal
vessel with a circular or oblong body and a handle, together with at
least one hole for pouring in the oil. The commonest material was
earthenware, and next to this, bronze. The lamp was either suspended by
a chain or chains, or else was rested on a stand. Plato and Petronius
tell us that the stand was borrowed from the rustic makeshift of a
stick, or the stout stem of a plant, thrust into the ground. As time
went on, the stem or stick in imitative metal-work was rendered more or
less artistic and ornate. But there was more than a single kind of
lampstand. The _lychnuchus_ ([Greek: lychnouchos]), invented by the
Greeks, held various lamps suspended from its branches, while, on the
other hand, the Roman _candelabrum_ supported but a solitary lamp upon
the disc or platform at its top extremity.[87] The island of Egina was
famed for the production of these discs, and Pliny tells us that the
decorated stem or _scapus_ was chiefly manufactured at Tarentum.

  [87] Undoubtedly the use of the Roman _candelabrum_ was continued by the
       Spanish Visigoths. "_Candelabrum_," says Saint Isidore, "_a
       candelis dictum, quasi candela feram, quod candelam ferat_"
       (_Originum_, book xx., chap. x.). The Spanish word _candela_ is
       loosely used to-day for almost any kind of light or fire, or even
       for a match; but an ordinary candle is generally called a _vela_ or
       _bugía_ (_bougie_).

The Roman lampstands also varied in their height. When the stem was long
they stood upon the ground--a fashion we have seen revived in recent
years, and even where electricity replaces oil. When, on the contrary,
the stem was short, the stand was known as a _candelabrum humile_, and
rested on a table or a stool.

The Madrid Museum contains a remarkable bronze lamp in the form of an
ass's head adorned with flowers and with ivy. The ass is holding in its
mouth the _rostrum_ for the wick. The hole for the oil is shaped like a
flower with eleven petals, under one of which is the monogram M[dagger]R.
The back of this lamp consists of an uncouth human male figure, in a
reclining posture, wearing a Phrygian cap and holding the ass's head
between his legs.

                          [Illustration: XXVIII
                               A _CANDIL_

Other lamps of bronze, including several of an interesting character,
are in the same collection. One of these represents a sea-deity; another
has its handle shaped like a horse's head and neck; and in a third the
orifice for the oil is heart-shaped, while the handle terminates in the
head of a swan.

There is also a series of three pensile lamps--two in the likeness of
the head and neck of a griffin, and the third in that of a theatrical
mask; as well as a candelabrum fourteen inches high, terminating beneath
in three legs with lions' claws (foreshadowing or repeating oriental
motives), and above in a two-handled vessel on which to place the lamp.
This vessel supports at present a fine _lucerna_ in the form of a

Probably no people in the world have kept extant, or rather, kept alive,
their oldest forms of pottery or instruments for giving light more
steadfastly or more solicitously than the Spaniards. Their iron
_candil_[88] and brass _velón_ of nowadays (Pls. xxviii. and
xxix.)--the one of these the primitive lamp that hangs; the other, the
primitive lamp that rests upon a table or the ground--are borrowed with
but a minimum of alteration from the lighting apparatus of the ancient
Greeks and Romans, and possess, for all their coarse and cheap and
unpretentious workmanship, a subtle interest and elegance attributable
only to the inspiration of antiquity.

  [88] "A small open lamp with a beak, and a hook to hang it, within which
       is another of the same make that contains oil and a wick to give
       light, commonly used in kitchens, stables, and inns."--Fathers
       Connelly and Higgins, _Spanish-English and English-Spanish
       Dictionary_. Swinburne wrote of these _candiles_:--"The Spaniards
       delight in wine that tastes strong of the pitched skin, and of oil
       that has a rank smell and taste; indeed, the same oil feeds their
       lamp, swims in their pottage, and dresses their salad; in inns the
       lighted lamp is frequently handed down to the table, that each man
       may take the quantity he chooses."

                           [Illustration: XXIX
                               A _VELÓN_

More than the shape of these old objects seems to have passed to modern
Spain--if any phase at all of Spanish life can ever justly be accounted
modern. The ancients had an almost superstitious reverence for a lighted
lamp, and were accustomed to declare that "_lucerna, cum extinguitur,
vocem emittit, quasi necata_"; "a lamp, on being put out, utters
a sound as though it were being murdered." Now, it may be a
coincidence--although I cannot but regard it as distinctly more than a
coincidence--that even at this day a large proportion of the
Andalusian people are markedly averse to blowing out a kindled match;
nor do they think it of good augury to be in a room where three
lights--candles, matches, or whatever they may be--are simultaneously
aflame. I have noticed, too, that, whether from utter carelessness or
whether from ancestral superstition handed down from Rome, one rarely
sees upon the staircase or the doorstep of a Spanish public building a
vesta that has been (if I may be allowed the term) extinguished

  [89] Perhaps it is not foreign to my theme to add that the current name
       in Spanish for an oil lamp is _quinqué_, from Quinquet, the
       Parisian chemist who invented the _tuyau-cheminée_ a hundred and
       odd years ago. The same word passes also into Spanish slang,
       "_tener quinqué_"--_i.e._ to be quick-witted and perceptive.

In the Madrid Museum are several military bronze _signa_ which were
found in Spain and date from the Roman era, as well as a _vexillum_, or
one of the T-shaped frames on which the warriors of that people used to
hang their standards. One of these _signa_ is in the form of a wild
boar; another in that of a saddled and bridled horse. Beneath this
latter is the word VIVA and a cross, which shows that the object dates
from a period not earlier than the reign of Constantine.

It is strange--or rather, would be strange in any country that had been
less constantly afflicted both with civil and external warfare--that
hardly anything remains of all the bronze artistic objects manufactured
by the Spanish Moors. Poets of this race have sung of gold and silver
fountains, door-knockers, and statues that adorned the buildings of
Cordova. In many of these instances the hyperbolic gold and silver of
the writers would undoubtedly be bronze. Al-Makkari quotes an Arab poet
who extols in passionate terms Almanzor's dazzling mansion of Az-zahyra.
"Lions of metal," sang this poet, "bite the knockers of thy doors, and
as those doors resound appear to be exclaiming _Allahu akbar_" ("God is
great"). Another bard describes the fountains of the same enchanted
palace. "The lions who repose majestically in this home of princes,
instead of roaring, allow the waters to fall in murmuring music from
their mouths. _Their bodies seem to be covered with gold_, and in their
mouths crystal is made liquid.

"Though in reality these lions are at rest, they seem to move and, when
provoked, to grow enraged. One would imagine that they remembered their
carnage of past days, and bellowing turned once more to the attack.

"When the sun is reflected from their _bronze_ surface, they seem to be
of fire, with tongues of flame that issue from their mouths.

"Nevertheless, when we observe them to be vomiting water, one would
think this water to be swords which melt without the help of fire, and
are confounded with the crystal of the fountain."

                           [Illustration: XXX
                              BRONZE LION
                 (_Found in the Province of Palencia_)]

Figures in bronze, of eagles, peacocks, swans, stags, dragons, lions,
and many other creatures were set about in garden and in hall, to
decorate these splendid palaces of ancient Cordova.

A specimen of this class of objects is a bronze lion of small dimensions
(Plate xxx.) found not many years ago in the province of Palencia, and
believed to date from the reign of Al-Hakem the Second of Cordova. It
belonged for some time to the painter Fortuny--a diligent and lucky
hunter of antiquities,--and was subsequently purchased in 1875 by M.
Piot. The modelling and decoration of this beast, especially the
mannered and symmetrical curls which are supposed to form its mane, are
quite conventional and strongly reminiscent of Assyrian art, such as
pervades the various lions rudely wrought in stone and still existing at
Granada; whether the celebrated dozen that support and guard the
fountain in the courtyard of the Moorish palace,[90] or else the
greater pair of grinning brutes proceeding from the ruins of the palace
of Azaque (miscalled the Moorish Mint), which may be noticed squatting
with their rumps towards the road, beside the garden entrance to the
Carmen de la Mezquita.

  [90] Swinburne fell into a comical error concerning these. "In the
       centre of the court are twelve ill-made lions _muzzled_, their
       fore-parts smooth, their hind-parts rough, which bear upon their
       backs an enormous bason, out of which a lesser rises."--_Travels
       through Spain_, p. 180.

This little bronze lion measures about twelve inches high by fourteen
inches long. The legs and part of the body are covered with a pattern
representing flowers. The mane is described by comma-shaped marks. The
tail, bent not ungracefully along the animal's back, is decorated with a
kind of plait through nearly all its length. The eyes are now two
cavities, but seem in other days to have contained two coloured stones
or gems. Upon the back and flanks is a Cufic inscription which says,
"_Perfect blessing. Complete happiness._"

                           [Illustration: XXXI
                              BRONZE STAG
                    (_Moorish. Museum of Cordova._)]

Mussulman historians have described, in terms of cloying praise, the
"red gold animals contrived with subtle skill and spread with precious
stones" which Abderrahman placed at Cordova upon the fountains of his
palaces. "Rivers of water issued from the mouth of every animal, and
fell into a jasper basin." The words "red gold" are patently an oriental
term for bronze. In view of this, and of the fact that the lion of
Palencia is hollow-bellied, with his mouth wide open for ejecting water,
and with a tail of cunning craftsmanship, which would avail, on being
rotated, to produce or check the current of the "liquid crystal," we may
conclude that it was intended both to form a part of, and to decorate a
Moorish fountain of old days, and is the kind of beast "with precious
stones for eyes" so often and so ecstatically lauded by the Muslim

Similar to the foregoing object, and dating from about the same period,
is a small bronze stag (Pl. xxxi.) in the provincial museum of Cordova.
It is believed to proceed originally from the famous palace (tenth
century) of Az-zahra, and used to be kept, some centuries ago, in the
convent of San Jerónimo de Valparaiso.

The museum of Granada contains some interesting Moorish bronzes, found
on the site of the ancient city of Illiberis, abandoned by its occupants
on their removal to Granada at the beginning of the eleventh century.
The most remarkable of these discoveries are pieces of a fountain, a
small temple (Plate xxxii.), an _almirez_ or mortar (Plate xxxiii.),
similar to one (not mentioned by Riaño) which was discovered at Monzón,
and a few lamps. The fragments of a fountain end in the characteristic
Assyrian-looking lions' heads, with lines in regular zones to represent
the eyes and other features. One of the lamps (Pl. xxxiii.) is far
superior to the rest. Notwithstanding Riaño's assertion that all of
these antiquities are "incomplete and mutilated," this lamp is well
preserved, and still retains, secured by a chain, the little metal
trimming-piece or _emunctorium_ of the Romans. The small bronze temple
is sometimes thought (but this hypothesis seems rather fanciful) to be a
case, or part of a case, designed for keeping jewellery. The height of
it is two-and-twenty inches, and the form hexagonal, "with twelve small
columns supporting bands of open work, frescoes, cupola, and turrets; in
the angles are birds" (Riaño).

                          [Illustration: XXXII
                             BRONZE TEMPLE
                    (_Moorish. Museum of Granada_)]

The most important object in this substance now extant in any part of
Spain is probably the huge and finely decorated lamp of Mohammed the
Third of Granada (Pl. xxxiv.), called sometimes "the lamp of Oran,"
from a mistaken belief that it had formed part of the booty yielded by
this city after her capture in 1509 by Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros.

The material of this lamp is bronze, possibly provided by the bells of
Christian churches taken and pillaged by the Moors. It has four parts or
tiers of varying shape, delicately wrought in open-work, and reaching a
height of nearly seven feet in all. The third and largest tier,
corresponding to the shade, is in the form of a truncated pyramid, and
shows a different design on each of its four sides. The lamp bears
several inscriptions, interrupted here and there through breakage of the
metal. The longest of these legends is interpreted as follows:--

"In the name of God the Merciful. (May) the blessing of God be on our
lord Mohammed and his kin; health and peace. (This lamp) was ordered (to
be made) by our Lord the egregious sultan, the favoured, the victorious,
the just, the happy, the conqueror of cities, and the extreme boundary
of just conduct among the servants (of God); the emir of the Mussulmans
Abu-Abdillah, son of our lord the emir of the Mussulmans Abu-Abdillah,
son of our lord Al-Galib-Billah, the conqueror through God's
protection, the emir of the Mussulmans Abu-Abdillah; (may) God aid him
(praised be God)." Here is a breakage and a corresponding gap in the
inscription, which continues, "beneath it, lighted by my light for its
magnificence and the care of its _xeque_, with righteous purpose and
unerring certainty. And this was in the month of Rabié the first
blessed, in the year 705.[91] May (God) be praised."

  [91] September 20th to October 19th, A.D. 1305.

The history of this lamp has been explored with scholarly care by
Rodrigo Amador de los Ríos, whose monograph will be found in the _Museo
Español de Antigüedades_. He says that the lamp was formerly suspended
from the ceiling of the chapel of San Ildefonso in the university of
Alcalá de Henares. Here, too, he has discovered entries which relate to
it in two separate inventories, dated 1526 and 1531, from which we
gather that the lamp, excepting the lowest part or tier, which probably
proceeded from Oran, was brought to Alcalá by Cardinal Cisneros from the
mosque of the Alhambra of Granada.

                          [Illustration: XXXIII
                        MOORISH LAMP AND MORTAR
                         (_Museum of Granada_)]

All of the lamp (continues Amador) that properly belongs to it, is the
open-work shade, together with the graduated set of spheres which we
now observe on top.[92] The lowest part is clearly an inverted bell,
from which project four decorative pieces. This is believed by Amador to
be a Spanish bell, dating from the fifteenth century, designed for
striking with a hammer, and proceeding from some monastery or convent
plundered by the Moors. Indeed, one of the two inventories discovered at
Alcalá mentions "a bell with a hole in it, _which used to belong to a
Moorish lamp_," thus countenancing the widespread supposition that the
lamps of the mosque of Cordova were made of the Christian bells of
Compostela, which the fierce Almanzor caused to be conveyed upon the
aching backs of Christian captives to the Moorish court and capital of

  [92] These spheres recall the four great gilded globes of bronze,
       tapering from the bottom to the top, that crowned in olden days the
       Giralda tower of Seville. According to the _Crónica General_ the
       glitter of these globes "de tan grande obra, é tan grandes, que no
       se podríen hacer otras tales," could be distinguished at a distance
       of eight leagues. On August 24th, 1395, when Seville was assailed
       by a frightful tempest accompanied by an earthquake, the metal rod
       which pierced and held the globes was snapped, and the globes
       themselves were dashed into a myriad pieces on the _azotea_, scores
       of yards below.

It is probable, therefore, that the lamp of the third Mohammed of
Granada is now composed of two lamps, and that the primitive
arrangement of its parts was altered by the ignorant. Eight chains
would formerly suspend it, in the following order of its tiers or
stages, from the dome of the _mezquita_. First and uppermost would come
the shade; then, next to this, the set of tapering spheres; and, last
and lowest, the saucer or _platillo_, which has disappeared. Further,
and as Koranic law prescribed, the lamp would hold two lights--one to be
kindled on the saucer, and the other underneath the shade.


Other articles of Spanish-Moorish ornamented bronze are thimbles,
buckets, and the spherical perfume-burners which were used to roll upon
the stone or marble pavement of a dwelling. Moorish thimbles, conical
and uncouthly large, are not uncommonly met with at Granada. I have one,
of which the above is an outline sketched to size.

                          [Illustration: XXXIV
                       LAMP OF MOHAMMED THE THIRD
                           (_Madrid Museum_)]

Sometimes these Moorish thimbles are inscribed in Cufic lettering
with phrases such as--"(May) the blessing of God and every kind of
happiness (be destined for the owner of this thimble)"; or else the
maker's name--"The work of Saif"; or a single word--"Blessing."

The thimbles from which I quote these legends are in the National
Museum. The same collection includes a very finely wrought bronze bucket
or _acetre_ (Latin _situlus_; Arabic _as-setl_, the utensil for drawing
water for a bath). The outside is covered with delicate ornamentation,
varied with inscriptions of no great interest, invoking Allah's blessing
on the owner or employer of the bucket, which is thought by Amador to be
of Granadino workmanship, and to date from about the middle of the
fourteenth century.

Not many specimens remain of early mediæval Spanish bronzes wrought by
Christian hands. Riaño, who admits that "we can hardly trace any bronze
of this period other than cathedral bells," mentions as probably
proceeding from abroad the altar-fronts and statuettes, in gilt
enamelled bronze, of Salamanca and elsewhere,[93] and gives a short
description of the bell, about six inches high (Pl. xxxv.), known as the
Abbot Samson's, now in Cordova Museum. This object bears an early date
(875 A.D.), and is inscribed, "_Offert hoc munus Samson abbatis in domum
Sancti Sebastiani martyris Christi, Era_ D.C.C.C.C.XIII."

  [93] See p. 50.

It is curious that Riaño should make no mention of Spanish bronze
processional crosses. In my chapter on gold, silver, and jewel work I
mentioned those belonging to churches in the north of Spain. A bronze
crucifix (Plate xxxvi.), believed to date from the beginning of the
twelfth century, and proceeding from the monastery of Arbós, in the
province of León, is now in the possession of Don Felix Granda Builla.
It is undoubtedly of Spanish make, and probably was carried in
processions. The style is pure Romanic, and the drawing of the ribs,
extremities, and limbs is typically primitive. The _sudarium_ is secured
by the belt or _parazonium_. The feet, unpierced, rest on a

A bronze Renaissance parish cross of the sixteenth century, once hidden
in a village of Asturias, was bought some thirty years ago by the museum
of Madrid. The body of the cross is wood, covered on both sides with
bronze plates wrought with figures of the Saviour as the holy infant and
as full-grown man, and also with a figure of the Virgin. These
figures were formerly painted, and traces of the colour yet remain. The
cross was also silvered. The rest of the ornamentation consists of
vases, flowers, and other subjects proper to Renaissance art.

                           [Illustration: XXXV
                          ABBOT SAMSON'S BELL
                  (_9th Century. Museum of Cordova_)]

A similar cross belongs to the parish church of San Julian de Recaré, in
the province of Lugo, while San Pedro de Donas, near Santiago in
Galicia, possesses a processional cross of bronze, pierced along the
edges in a pattern of trefoils and _fleurs-de-lis_, but otherwise

Sometimes in Spanish bronze we find the handiwork of Moors and
Christians picturesquely intermingled, as in the gates of Toledo
cathedral (1337), and the Puertas del Perdón--forming the principal
entrance to the Court of Orange Trees--of the mosque of Cordova, made of
wood and covered with bronze plating decorated with irregular hexagons
and Gothic and Arabic inscriptions. The knockers contain a scroll and
flowers, and on the scroll the words, _Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel_.
The gate of the same name of Seville cathedral (Pl. xxxvii.) is similar
in workmanship, and is considered by Riaño to be a good example of
Moresque bronze-work.

While speaking of these doors, we should remember that Moorish
craftsmen were employed to decorate or to repair the mosque of Cordova
long after it had been converted to the worship of the Christians. When
he was acting as viceroy in the year 1275, the Infante Don Fernando
confirmed a letter of his father, King Alfonso, remitting tolls and
taxes that would otherwise be leviable upon four Moors who worked in the
cathedral. The Infante's confirmation, after recording that "one (of the
four Moors) is dead and the other blind, in such wise that he can work
no more," consents to the engagement of another two, Famet and Zahec by
name, to fill their places, and who also are hereby exempted from the
payment of all dues. Five years afterwards this privilege was
reconfirmed by King Alfonso, and we are further told on this occasion
that two of the Moorish four were _albañís_, or masons, and the others
_añaiares_, or carpenters. As time progressed, the situation of the
vanquished and humiliated Mussulmans grew more irksome. On October 25th,
1320, the Infante Don Sancho, who had usurped the throne, proclaimed, in
ratification of a letter issued by his father, that all the Moorish
carpenters, masons, sawyers, and other workmen and artificers of Cordova
must work in the cathedral (presumably without a wage) for two days
in every year.[94]

  [94] _Libro de las Tablas_, pp. 17, 18. See Madrazo, _Cordova_, pp. 273
       _et seq._

                          [Illustration: XXXVI
                            BRONZE CRUCIFIX
                           (_12th Century_)]

In the latter half of the sixteenth century, Bartolomé Morel, a
Sevillano, produced some notable work in bronze.[95] Three objects by
his hand--namely, the choir lectern and the tenebrarium of Seville
cathedral, and the weathercock or _Giraldillo_ which crowns the
celebrated tower of the same enormous temple--are specially
distinguished for their vigour and effectiveness.

  [95] In documents which relate to him (see Gestoso's _Dictionary of
       Sevillian Artificers_) Morel is often called an _artillero_. His
       father, Juan Morel, was also a founder of cannon, and signed a
       contract in 1564 to cast two bronze pieces or _tiros_, with the
       royal arms on them.

The least important of these objects is the choir lectern, for which
Morel was paid six hundred ducats. The decoration is of statuettes and
_rilievi_, well designed and better executed. The tenebrarium, aptly
defined by Amador as "an article of church furniture intended to make a
show of light,"[96] is more ambitious and original. "It was designed
and made by Morel in the year 1562. Juan Giralte, a native of Flanders,
and Juan Bautista Vazquez helped him to make the statues at the head of
this candelabrum, and Pedro Delgado, another noted sculptor of Seville,
worked at the foot of it. It is eight and a half yards high, and the
triangular head is three yards across. Upon this upper part are fifteen
statues, representing the Saviour, the apostles, and two other disciples
or evangelists. In the vacant space of the triangle is a circle adorned
with leaves, and in the centre of this circle is a bust of the Virgin in
relief, and, lower down, the figure of a king. All of this part is of
bronzed wood, and rests upon four small bronze columns. The remainder of
the candelabrum is all of this material, and the small columns are
supported by four caryatides, resting upon an order of noble design
decorated with lions' heads, scrolls, pendants, and other ornamentation,
the whole resting upon a graceful border enriched with harpies."

  [96] The efficacy of light in illuminating, or may be in dazzling and
       confounding, Christian worshippers is too self-evident to call for
       illustration. The symbolic meaning of church candles is, however,
       neatly indicated by the wise Alfonso in his compilation of the
       seven _Partidas_. "Because three virtues dwell in candles, namely,
       wick, wax, and flame, so do we understand that persons three dwell
       in the Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and we may understand
       three other things that dwell in Jesus Christ; to wit, body, soul,
       and godhead. Hence the twelve lighted candles manifested to each
       quarter of the church exhibit unto us the twelve apostles who
       preached the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ through all the earth,
       and manifesting truest wisdom illumined all the world."

This description of the Seville tenebrarium is translated from Cean
Bermudez, and is the one most commonly quoted, though Amador complains
that it is not precise, and fails to dwell upon the symbolism of this
mighty mass of bronze.[97] Thus, what Cean affirms to be the bust of a
king is declared by Amador to be the head of a pope, probably Saint
Gregory the Great. Metal, as Cean remarks, is not employed throughout.
In order to preserve its balance, the upper part of the tenebrarium,
containing the triangle which is said by some to symbolize "the divinity
of Jesus as God the triple and the one," is merely wood bronzed over.
Amador adds that the foot and stem are intended to represent "the people
of Israel in their perfidy and ingratitude." He also says that the
statue in the centre of the triangle is that of Faith, and that which
crowns the entire tenebrarium, of the Virgin Mary.

  [97] The English rendering of Cean's description inserted by Riaño is
       inaccurate throughout.

                          [Illustration: XXXVII
                        THE _PUERTA DEL PERDÓN_
                         (_Seville Cathedral_)]

Morel, like Brunelleschi, was an architect as well as a craftsman in
bronze.[98] He completed this tenebrarium in 1562, and the chapter of
the cathedral were so contented with it that instead of paying him the
stipulated price, namely, eight hundred ducats, they added of their own
accord a further two hundred and fifty. They also commissioned him to
make a handsome case to keep it in; but the case has disappeared, and
the naked tenebrarium now stands in the Sacristy of Chalices of the
cathedral.[99] It is still used at the Matin service during the last
three days of Holy Week, and still, in the _Oficio de Tinieblas_, the
custom is observed of extinguishing the fifteen tapers, one by one, at
the conclusion of each psalm.

  [98] As architect, he made a monument (which exists no longer) for the
       festivals of Holy Week at Seville.

  [99] In 1565 Juan del Pozo, an ironsmith, received one hundred _reales_
       "on account of an engine which he made of iron for moving the
       tenebrarium of the cathedral, and other heavy things."--Gestoso,
       _Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanos_, vol. i. p. 313.

The title of the object which surmounts the famed Giralda tower of
Seville is properly "the Statue of Faith, the triumph of the Church"
(Pl. xxxviii.); but it is known in common language as the Giraldillo
(weathercock), which name has passed into the word Giralda, now applied
to all the tower. The populace of Seville also call it, in the _argot_
of their cheerful town, the _muñeco_ or "doll," the "Victory," and the
"Santa Juana."

                         [Illustration: XXXVIII
                  (_16th Century. Seville Cathedral_)]

This statue, made of hollow bronze, rotates upon an iron rod piercing
the great bronze globe which lies immediately beneath the figure's feet.
The globe is nearly six feet in diameter. The figure itself represents a
Roman matron wearing a flowing tunic partly covering her legs and arms.
Sandals are secured to her feet by straps. Upon her head she wears a
Roman helmet crested by a triple plume. In her right hand she holds the
semicircular Roman standard of the time of Constantine, which points the
direction of the wind and causes the figure to revolve, excepting when
the air is very faint, in which case it is caught by two diminutive
banners springing from the large one.[100] So huge are the proportions
of this metal lady that the medal on her breast contains a life-size
head which represents an angel.

  [100] The statue, which looks so tiny from the street, measures nearly
        fourteen feet in height, and weighs more than two thousand two
        hundred pounds. The banner alone weighs close upon four hundred
        pounds. The figure was raised into its place in 1568, in which
        year I find that eighteen Moriscos were paid seventy-eight
        _reales_ between them all for doing the work of carriage (Gestoso,
        _Diccionario_). Gestoso also mentions a large bronze plate made
        by Morel for the pavement of the cathedral, and which has
        disappeared. It weighed 2269 pounds, or about the same as the
        weathercock of the Giralda, and Morel was paid for it the sum of
        289,361 _maravedis_.

The Spanish Moors were also well acquainted with the use of
weathercocks. During the reign, in the eleventh century, of the Zirite
kingling of Granada, Badis ben Habbus, a weathercock of strange design
surmounted his _alcázar_. The historian Marmol wrote in the sixteenth
century that it was still existing on a little tower, and consisted of a
horseman in Moorish dress, with a long lance and his shield upon his
arm, the whole of bronze, with an inscription on the shield which says:
"Badis ben Habbus declares that in this attitude should the Andalusian
be discovered (at his post)."

Not many other objects in this substance can be instanced as the work of
Spanish craftsmen of the sixteenth and succeeding centuries, or of the
later-Gothic age immediately preceding. Among them are the pulpits of
Santiago cathedral, made by Celma, an Aragonese, in 1563; the
choir-screen (1574-1579) in the cathedral of Zaragoza, made by Juan
Tomás Cela, also a native of Aragon; the gilt lecterns of Toledo
cathedral, which are the work of Nicolás Vergara and his son; the Gothic
lectern of the mosque of Cordova; the choir-lectern (1557) of Cuenca,
made by Hernando de Arenas, who will also be remembered as having made
the _reja_ of the same cathedral; and the octagonal gilt-bronze pulpits
of Toledo, wrought by Francisco de Villalpando, as are the bas-reliefs
(1564) upon the door of Lions, executed by the same craftsman from
designs by Berruguete.

These last-named pulpits are associated with a legend. Within this
temple, once upon a time, rested the metal sepulchre of the great Don
Alvaro de Luna, so constructed by his orders that upon the touching of a
secret spring the statue of the Constable himself would rise into a
kneeling posture throughout the celebration of the mass. His lifelong
and relentless foe, the Infante Enrique of Aragon, tore up the tomb in
1449; and from its fragments, superstition says, were made these

Spanish Renaissance door-knockers in bronze are often curious. Fifteen
large bronze rings adorned with garlands, heads of lions and of eagles,
or with the pair of columns and the motto PLUS OULTRE of Charles the
Fifth, were formerly upon the pilasters of the roofless, semi-ruined
palace of that emperor at Granada. Removed elsewhere for greater
safety,[101] they will now be found among the couple of dozen
curiosities preserved in a chamber of the Moorish royal residence of the

  [101] Spaniards have a very scanty confidence in one another's honesty,
        as well as in the competence of their police. Often, at Madrid,
        and at this day, the porter of a house, as soon as it is dark,
        unscrews the knockers from the downstairs door, and guards them
        in his _conciergerie_ until the morning.

Herewith I end my sketch of Spanish bronzes, without delaying to
describe the tasteless _transparente_ behind the altar of Toledo
cathedral, or the neo-classic, Frenchified productions of the reign of
Charles the Third, such as the table-mountings of the Buen Retiro, or
trifles from the silver factory of Antonio Martinez. At the Escorial,
the shrine of the Sagrario de la Santa Forma and the altar-front of the
pantheon of the kings of Spain, wrought by Fray Eugenio de la Cruz, Fray
Juan de la Concepción, and Fray Marcos de Perpignan, are meritorious
objects of their time. But the history of Spanish bronzes properly ends
with the Renaissance. This material, possibly from its cost, has not at
any time been greatly popular in Spain. Wood, plain or painted, was
preferred to bronze in nearly all her statuary. Her mediæval and
Renaissance _reja_ and _custodia_ makers can challenge all the world. So
can her potters, armourers, leather-workers, and wood-carvers. But if
we look for masterpieces in the art of shaping bronze, our eyes must
turn to Italy, where, to astonish modern men, the powers of a Donatello
or Ghiberti vibrate across all ages in the bas-reliefs of Saint Anthony
at Padua, or in the gates of the Baptistery of Florence.


Lovers of the old-time crafts approach a fertile field in Spanish arms;
for truly with this warworn land the sword and spear, obstinately
substituted for the plough, seem to have grown well-nigh into her
regular implements of daily bread-winning; and from long before the age
of written chronicle her soil was planted with innumerable weapons of
her wrangling tribesmen.

The history of these ancient Spanish tribes is both obscure and
complicated. If Pliny, Strabo, Ptolemy, and other authors may be
credited, the Celtic race invaded the Peninsula some seven centuries
before the Christian era, crossing the river Ebro, founding settlements,
and fusing with the natives into the composite people known henceforward
as the Celtiberians. Thus strengthened, they extended over nearly all
the land, and occupied, by a dominative or assimilative policy, the
regions corresponding to the modern Andalusia, Portugal, Galicia, and
the flat and central elevations of Castile.

These Spanish tribes were ever quarrelling, and knew, in Strabo's words,
"no entertainment save in horsemanship and in the exercise of arms."
Quantities of their weapons have been found all over Spain, such as the
heads of spears and arrows, or the blades of daggers, hatchets, knives,
and swords. With these Iberian tribesmen, as with other peoples of the
ancient world, the truly prehistoric age is that of stone; hence they
advanced to bronze, and finally to iron. Beuter, the historian of
Valencia, wrote in 1534 that near to the town of Cariñena, in Aragon, on
digging out some earthen mounds the excavators came upon enormous bones,
flint lance and arrow heads, and knives the size of half an ordinary
sword; all these in company with "many skulls transfixed by the said
stones." In the collection at Madrid, formed by Don Emilio Rotondo y
Nicolau, these primitive Spanish weapons number several thousands; and
many more are in the National Museum.[102]

  [102] According to Tubino, the existence of a prehistoric age of stone
        was not suspected in Spain until the year 1755, when Mann y
        Mendoza affirmed that a state of society had existed in the
        Peninsula before the age of metals. Since then the Celtic remains
        of Spain and Portugal have been investigated by many scientists,
        including Assas, Mitjana, Murguía, and Casiano de Prado, who
        discovered numbers of these weapons. Towards the middle of last
        century Casiano de Prado, aided by the Frenchmen Verneuil and
        Lartet, explored the neighbourhood of San Isidro on the
        Manzanares, and found large quantities of arms and implements of
        stone. Valuable service in the cause of prehistoric Spanish
        archæology has also been performed by Vilanova, Torrubia, and

Discoveries of ancient Spanish arms of bronze occur less often and in
smaller quantities than those of stone or iron. Bronze hatchets,
principally of the straight-edged class (_à bords droites_) have been
found in Galicia and certain other provinces. Villa-amil y Castro
describes a bronze dagger of curious workmanship, which was found in
Galicia in 1869. The point of the blade is missing. If this were
included, the length of the weapon would be about six inches.

Other examples, now in the Madrid Museum, include two swords, two
daggers, and two arrowheads. The swords, sharp-pointed, narrow in the
blade, and used by preference for thrusting, were found not far from
Calatayud--the ancient town renowned, as Roman Bilbilis, for weapons of
incomparable temper. The daggers were probably used for fighting hand to

At the time of the Roman invasion we find, of course, the Spaniards
using iron weapons. I shall not tax the patience of my readers by
enumerating all these weapons. Their names are many, and the comments
and descriptions of old authors which refer to them are constantly at
variance. Nevertheless, the sword most popular with the Celtiberians at
the period of the Roman conquest seems to have been a broad, two-handed
weapon with a point and double edge, and therefore serviceable both for
cutting and for thrusting. Another of the Celtiberian swords, called the
_falcata_, was of a sickle shape. It terminated in the kind of point we
commonly associate with a scimitar, and which is found to-day in Spanish
knives produced at Albacete. One of these swords, in good condition, is
in the National Museum. It has a single edge, upon the concave side of
the blade, and measures rather less than two feet. Other weapons in
common use among the Celtiberians were an iron dart--the _sannion_ or
_soliferrea_; the javelin; the lance--a weapon so immemorially old in
Spain that patriotic writers trace its origin to the prehistoric town of
Lancia in Asturias; and the _trudes_ or _bidente_, a crescent blade
mounted upon a pole, mentioned by Strabo and Saint Isidore, and
identical with the cruel weapon used until about a quarter of a
century ago for houghing coward cattle in the bull-ring.

                          [Illustration: XXXIX
                        CREST OF JOUSTING HELMET
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

Thus, when the Romans entered Spain the natives of this country were
experienced in the use of arms, and made their own from such materials
as their own soil yielded. Their tempering was excellent, for Diodorus
Siculus tells us that they had already discovered the secret of burying
the metal in order that the moisture of the earth might eat away its
baser portions. Besides the ancient Bilbilis in Aragon, a Spanish city
famous for her faultless tempering of implements and weapons was Toledo.
Martial,[103] the most illustrious son of Bilbilis, has sung the praises
of the one; less celebrated poets, such as Gracio Falisco, of the
other.[104] Even the armourers of Rome were found to be less skilful and
successful swordsmiths than the Spaniards;[105] and so, before the
second Punic War, the model or the models of the Spanish sword had been
adopted by the Roman army.

  [103] "_Gerone qui ferrum gelat._" This river, the purity and coldness
        of whose waters lent, or so it is supposed, its virtues to the
        steel, rolls past the walls of Calatayud, and is called in later
        ages the Jalon.

  [104] "_Imo Toletano præcingant ilia cultro._"

  [105] "_Romani patriis gladiis depositis Hannibalico bello Hispaniensium
        assumpserunt ... sed ferri bonitatem et fabrica solertiam imitari
        non potuerunt._"--Suidas.

Various of the native peoples of Iberia were distinguished by a special
instrument or mode of fighting. Strabo says that the Iberians as a
general rule employed two lances and a sword. Those of Lusitania were
especially adroit in hurling darts. Each of their warriors kept a number
of these darts contained within his shield. Upon the head they wore a
helmet of a primitive pattern strapped beneath the chin. This helmet,
called the _bacula_, protected all the wearer's face, and had a mitred
shape, with three red feathers on the crest. Together with these arms,
the Lusitanians used a copper-headed lance and the typical form of
Celtiberian sword. More singular and celebrated in their mode of
fighting were the Balearic islanders, who carried, through persistent
exercise, the art of slinging stones and leaden plummets to the utmost
limit of perfection. The beaches of these islands, we are told,
abounded, then as now, in small, smooth pebbles, "weapons of Nature's
own contrivance," rarely suited to the sling.[106] These slings were of
three patterns, severally designed for near, far, and middling
distances. The lead or stone projectile sometimes weighed a pound.
Accordingly--so strenuous was their zeal to be unrivalled in the
practice of this arm--even as little children the Baleares went without
their dinner, till, with the formidable _funda_ in their hand, they
struck the stick their parents planted for them in the soil. Pliny and
Polybius, notwithstanding, state that the sling itself was not
indigenous in this region, but imported from Ph[oe]nicia. However this
may be, the islanders within a little time contributed to swell the
power of the Roman legions.

  [106] _Descripciones de las Islas Pithiusas y Baleares._ Madrid, 1787.

The Visigoths continued using many of the Roman or Ibero-Roman arms.
Nevertheless, the solid armour of the Romans, such as their greaves and
thigh-pieces and breastplates, was now replaced by primitive chain-mail
resembling scales of fishes. According to Saint Isidore, Procopius, and
other writers, the favourite weapons of the Spanish Visigoths were the
sword or _spatha_, long, broad-bladed, with a double edge; the hatchet,
the bow, the sling, the lance, the scythe, the mace, the _pilum_ or
javelin (used extensively in Spain throughout the Middle Ages),[107] the
_dolon_, a dagger which concealed itself within a wooden staff, and
took the name of "treacherous" or "wily" from this circumstance; and the
_conto_, a keenly pointed pike. We also find among the military engines
of the Visigoths the _balista_, for hurling stones and darts of large
size, and the _ariete_ or battering-ram, constructed from a gnarled and
powerful tree-trunk braced with iron and suspended by a cable. Their
defensive body-armour consisted of a coat of mail composed of bronze or
iron scales, and called the _lóriga_ or _perpunte_. This was worn above
the _thorachomachus_, a kind of tunic made of felt, in order to shield
the body from the roughness of the mail. Upon their heads they wore an
ample helmet.

  [107] A javelin made throughout of iron was found in Spain some years
        ago, completely doubled up, so as to admit of its being thrust
        into a burial urn. The javelin in question is now in the Madrid
        museum, and a similar weapon may be seen in the provincial museum
        of Granada.

A fragment of stone carving preserved in Seville museum shows us two
Visigothic Spanish warriors who wear a tunic and helmet of a simple
pattern, and carry a two-edged sword and a large shield. García Llansó
says, however, that the nobles of this people wore close-fitting mail
tunics covered with steel scales, a kind of bronze bassinet, tight
breeches, and high boots, and carried, besides the sword which was slung
from their belts, a large, oval shield.[108]

  [108] _Historia General del Arte_: García Llansó; _Armas_, pp. 439, 440.

                           [Illustration: XL
                          SPANISH CROSSBOWMAN
             (_Late 15th Century. Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

From about the time of the Moorish invasion, the changes in the arms and
armour of the Spaniards coincided in the main with those in other parts
of western Europe. Nevertheless, as late as the eleventh century the
Spanish sword retained the characteristic which had endeared it to the
Roman legionaries--namely, a hilt of small dimensions and a broad and
shortish blade. In course of time the blade grows narrower and begins to
taper towards the point. The _quillons_ or crossbars (Spanish
_arriaces_, from the Arabic _arrias_, a sword-hilt) were originally
straight or semicircular, and ended in a knob (_manzana_, literally
"apple"; Latin _pomum_, English _pommel_). Thus, in the _Poem of the
Cid_ we find the verse:--

           "_Las manzanas é los arriaces todos de oro son._"

Throughout these early times the scabbard was of wood lined with leather
or with velvet, and strengthened and adorned with leather bands; but
when the owner was of high estate, it often bore enamels in the
_cloisonné_ style; that is, with patches of the coloured, vitreous
substance bordered and fastened in by metal wire. In Spain this style,
undoubtedly of foreign origin, was superseded in the thirteenth century
by _champlevé_ enamelling, in which the enamel lies within a hollowed

Spanish mediæval weapons down to the fourteenth century are specified in
the _fuero_ of Cáceres and other documents contemporary with their use.
Next always in importance to the sword we find the hatchet, lance,
crossbow, and mace. Montaner's _Chronicle of the Kings of Aragon_ tells
us that the sovereign, mace in hand, dealt one of his enemies "such a
blow upon his iron hat that his brains came oozing out at his ears."
Covarrubias mentions a dart-shaped missile called the _azcona_--a word
which some authorities derive from the Arabic, and others from the
Basque _gascona_, an arm employed by the natives of Gascony. The former
derivation seems the likelier. The _fuero_ of Cáceres mentions the
_tarágulo_, described by the Count of Clonard as a kind of dagger; and
at the close of the thirteenth century appears in Spain the poniard,
which was called among the Germans _Panzerbrecher_, or "breaker of
cuirasses," and among the French the _misericorde_.

The _fuero_ of Cáceres tells us, furthermore, what was the regular
equipment of the Spanish foot and mounted soldier of that period. "Each
horseman shall go forth to battle with a shield, a lance, a sword, and
spurs; and he that carries not all these shall pay each time five sheep
wherewith to feed the soldiers.... Each mounted man or pawn that
trotteth not or runneth not to quit his town or village as he hears the
call,--the first shall have his horse's tail cut off; the other shall
have his beard clipped."

Defensive arms included various kinds of coverings for the head; the
_lóriga_ or covering for the body, the _cálcias_ or covering for the
legs, and the shield.

The _lóriga_ (Latin _lorica_) was the ordinary hauberk or shirt of mail,
such as was worn all over military Europe, made of rings or scales sewed
strongly on a linen or leather under-tunic consisting of a single piece,
and reaching to the knee. The _Gran Conquista de Ultramar_ of Alfonso el
Sabio also informs us that it was tied at certain openings known as
_ventanas_ ("windows"), and that the collar of the tunic was called the
_gorguera_. The resistance of the Spanish _lóriga_ to a pointed weapon
does not seem to have been great, for the Chronicle of the Monk of Silos
says that at the siege of Viseo the arrows of the Moorish bowmen went
through the triple _lórigas_ of their foe.

Towards the twelfth century the custom arose of wearing over the coat of
mail a loose, sleeveless frock (the _Waffenrock_ of Germany), woven of
linen or some other light material, painted or embroidered with the
owner's arms. As the Count of Clonard observes, it is clearly this kind
of frock that is referred to in the following passage of the _Leyes de
Partida_: "For some (of the knights) placed upon the armour carried by
themselves and by their horses,[109] signs that were different one from
another, in order to be known thereby; while others placed them on their
heads, or on their helmets."

  [109] The horse was also covered with a _lóriga_, on which, from about
        the twelfth century, were thrown the decorative trappings of
        _cendal_ or thin silk, painted or embroidered with the warrior's

                           [Illustration: XLI
                      THE BATTLE OF LA HIGUERUELA
            (_Wall painting. Hall of Battles, El Escorial_)]

The Normans used a form of hauberk with attached mail-stockings. In
Spain we find in lieu of this leg-covering, the Roman _cálcia_ (Latin
_caliga_), extending from the foot to just below the thigh, and
subsequently called the _brafonera_.[110] This was, in fact, a separate
mail-stocking, made of closely interlacing steel rings, and worn above
the leather boots or _trebuqueras_.

  [110]        "_Calzó las brafoneras que eran bien obradas
                Con sortijas de acero, sabet bien enlazadas;
                Asi eran presas é bien trabadas,
                Que semejaban calzas de las tiendas taiadas._"
                                                     _Poem of the Cid._

The Spanish _escudo_ or shield was usually made of wood covered with
leather, and painted with the arms or the distinguishing emblem of its
lord. Sometimes it was made of parchment. Thus the Chronicle of the Cid
informs us that this hero after death was equipped with "a painted
parchment helm and with a shield in the same wise." Another form of
Spanish shield, the _adarga_ (_atareca_, _atarca_; Arabic _ad-darka_, to
hold upon the arm), of which I shall subsequently notice specimens in
the Royal Armoury, was commonly in the shape of a rough oval or of a
heart, and made of various folds of leather sewn and glued together. The
Chronicle of Alfonso the Eleventh speaks of a certain famine which broke
out among the Spanish troops, and caused them such privation that "they
chewed the leather of their shields."[111]

  [111] Count of Clonard, _op. cit._

The battle headgear of this people passed through many changes. "The
helmet of the eighth century," says the Count of Clonard, "was the same
which had been used by the Cantabrians and Vascones before the general
peace proclaimed by Augustus Cæsar. Helmets of this design are engraved
upon the medals (reproduced by Florez) of the imperial legate Publius
Carisius. They covered the entire head and face, leaving only two holes
for the eyes, as we see upon the carved stone fragments in relief at the
door of the church of San Pedro de Villanueva, representing the struggle
of King Froila with a bear."

Another form of helmet which the Spaniards began to use about this time
was the _almofar_ (Arabic _al-mejfar_), made of iron scales. It covered
all the head, with the exception of the eyes, nose, and mouth, and
corresponds to the _camail_ of the Normans. Beneath it was worn the
linen _cofia_, a kind of bag or cap in which the warrior gathered up his
hair. After about another century a round or conical iron helmet
(_capacete_), fitted with cheek-pieces, was superposed on the _almofar_
and fastened round the chin with straps. The _capacete_ of a noble was
often adorned with precious stones and coronets of pure gold, while a
spike projecting from the top was tipped with a large carbuncle, in
order to catch and to reflect the flashing sunbeams.

The substitution for this spike of multiform and multicolor figures or
devices dates from a later age. The Chronicle of Alfonso the Eleventh
describes as something altogether novel and surprising, the crests upon
the helmets of the foreign knights who flocked, in 1343, to Algeciras to
aid the cause of Christianity against the Moor. "All of them," says this
narrative, "placed their helmets at the door of their dwellings,
supporting them on stout and lofty staves; and the figures on the
helmets were of many kinds. On some was the figure of a lion; on others
that of a wolf, or ass's head, or ox, or dog, or divers other beasts;
while others bore the likeness of the heads of men; faces, beards, and
all. Others, too, had wings as those of eagles or of crows; and so,
between these various kinds there were in all as many as six hundred

This brings us to the celebrated helmet or _cimera_ (Plate xxxix.), now
in the Royal Armoury of Madrid, believed till recently to have belonged
to Jayme the First, conqueror of Palma and Valencia, and the greatest,
both in spirit and in stature, of the old-time kings of Aragon.

Such part of this interesting helmet as is left consists of two pieces,
one of them resting loosely on the other. Baron de las Cuatro Torres
infers, from a detail which will presently be noted, that the lower of
these two pieces is not original; and his opinion was shared by the
Count of Valencia de Don Juan, who, notwithstanding, thought the
spurious part to be coeval with the actual crest. The upper part
consists of a fragment of a helm, made, like some flimsy theatre
property, of linen, card, and parchment, and surmounted with the figure
of the mythical monster known in the Lemosin language as the
_drac-pennat_, or winged dragon, which formed, conjointly with the royal
crown, the emblem or device of all the Aragonese sovereigns from Pedro
the Fourth to Ferdinand the Second.

                          [Illustration: XLII
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

There is, however, no reason to doubt the helmet's authenticity. It is
known to have remained for centuries at Palma, in the Balearics, where
it was worn upon the day of Saint Sylvester in each year, by a person
who walked in the procession of the _Standart_ to celebrate the capture
of the city by Don Jayme. This would explain the lower piece contrived
and added to the crest itself, in order to adjust the incomplete and
upper portion to the subsequent wearer's head. The helmet as originally
made was meant for tourneying only, and is therefore fashioned, not of
metal, but of the frail theatrical materials I have stated. Copper and
wood, says Viollet-le-Duc, were also used in making these objects. The
earliest wearer of the helm cannot have been Don Jayme. Baron de las
Cuatro Torres remarks that on an Aragonese coin of the reign of Pedro
the Fourth, the monarch is wearing on his head something which looks
identical with this _cimera_.[112] Demay has further told us that the
vogue of such _cimeras_, whose principal purpose was to distinguish
seigniories, lasted from 1289 till the introduction of movable visors at
the end of the fourteenth or the beginning of the fifteenth century. The
present helmet, therefore, probably belonged to Don Pedro the Fourth of
Aragon ("the Ceremonious"), and was made at some time in his
reign--that is, between 1335 and 1387. A document has been discovered in
which this monarch's son, Don Martin of Aragon, commands that year by
year his own helmet, "_nostram emprissiam sive cimbram_," together with
the banner of Jayme the Conqueror, is to be publicly exhibited in
commemoration of the capture of Majorca. Therefore we may conclude from
these important facts that here is the crest of a tourneying helmet
which belonged either to Don Pedro the Fourth of Aragon, or else to
either of, or possibly both, his sons, Don Juan and Don Martin.

  [112] _Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones_; Nos. 16 and 17.

The changes which occur in Spanish arms and armour between the
fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries keep pace, upon the whole, with
those in other parts of Europe. It is, however, opportune to notice how
the Spanish armies of this time were organized. Their regular cavalry
consisted of: (1) the force directly mustered by the king and under his
immediate leadership; (2) the mounted burghers who defrayed the whole or
part of their expenses, being in certain instances assisted by a stipend
which had been created by municipal and local _fueros_; (3) the knights
belonging to the military orders; and (4) the barons, together with the
men these last were called upon, obedient to the summons of the royal
_mandadero_ (messenger), to mount, equip, provision, and bring to war
with them. Such was the heavy cavalry of later mediæval Spain. A lighter
class, said by the Count of Clonard to have been recruited from the
southern regions of the land, was known as _alfaraces_, _almogávares_,
or _omes de la gineta_.

These latter lived in frugal fashion. Water was their only drink; bread
and the roots of plants their only food. Their clothing, too, was of the
slightest, consisting merely of a shirt, high boots, and a kind of net
upon the head. They wore no armour, and carried as their only weapons an
_azagaya_ and a lance. Their principal value was in skirmishing.

The infantry were also of two kinds. The first, collective or
stipendiary, was levied by the towns and cities, and from them received
its maintenance. The second was the _almogávares_, who served for
scouting, like their mounted comrades of the same denomination. The
stipendiary or regular troops proceeded chiefly from the northern
provinces--Alava, Guipúzcoa, the Asturias, and the mountains of León,
and carried commonly the lance, sword, sling, crossbow, and the
_azagaya_--this last a dart-shaped missile borrowed from the Berber
tribesmen,--the ancient Moorish _azgaya_, the modern _assagai_ or
_assegai_ of Zululand.[113]

  [113] One of these weapons may be seen in the Royal Armoury (No. I. 95).
        It is made of iron covered with leather, and has a laurel-shaped
        blade with sharpened edges. The other end consists of two
        projecting pieces of the metal, shaped to resemble the plumes of
        an arrow. The length of this arm is 5 feet 8 inches.

In a country which was plunged in ruinous and almost unremitting
internecine strife; which was (and is) inherently averse to commerce or
to agriculture; and where the bulk of all the national wealth was either
locked away in churches and in convents, or in the coffers of great
nobles who were frequently as wealthy as, or even wealthier than, the
Crown, the armour of the common mediæval Spanish soldier consisted of
the plain and necessary parts and nothing more. The aristocracy, upon
the other hand, often adorned their battle-harness with the finest gold
and silver work, and studded it with precious stones. Even the esquires
would sometimes imitate their masters in this costly mode. "We command,"
said Juan the First in one of his pragmatics dating from the end of the
fourteenth century, "that no shield-bearer shall carry cloth of gold or
any manner of gold ornament upon his trappings, scarf, or saddle; or
on his badge or arms, excepting only on the edges of his bassinet and
his cuisses, together with the bit and poitral of his horse, which may
be gilded."

                          [Illustration: XLIII
                      MOORISH CROSSBOW AND STIRRUP
                         (_Museum of Granada_)]

It is also evident from Royal Letters of this time, that the kings of
Spain depended very largely for the flower of their forces on the
private fortune or resources of the Spanish noblemen or even commoners;
nor did they ever hesitate to turn these means of other people to their
own particular good. The Ordinance of Juan the First, dated Segovia,
1390, commands that, "Every man who possesses 20,000 _maravedis_ and
upward shall have his proper set of harness, habergeons and
scale-pieces, and lappet-piece, cuisses and vantbrasses, bassinet,
camail, and war-cap[114] with its gorget; or else a helmet, together
with sword and dagger, glaive and battle-axe. And whoso possesses 3000
_maravedis_ and upward shall have his lance and javelin and shield, his
lappet-piece and coat of mail, and iron bassinet without a camail, and a
_capellina_, together with his sword, _estoque_, and knife. And whoso
has between 2000 and 3000 _maravedis_ shall have his lance and sword or
_estoque_ and knife, or a bassinet or _capellina_, together with a
shield. And whoso has from 600 to 2000 _maravedis_ shall have a crossbow
with its nut and cord and stirrup, quiver and strap, and three dozen
shafts. And whoso has from 400 to 600 _maravedis_ shall have a lance, a
javelin, and a shield. And whoso has 400 _maravedis_ shall have a
javelin and a lance."

  [114] _Capellina_. The Count of Clonard says that this was in the shape
        of half a lemon, and fitted with a visor with a cutting edge.

The wealthier classes responded lavishly to this command. Describing the
battle of Olmedo and the forces of Don Alvaro de Luna sent against the
Navarrese, the chronicle of the Constable declares that among his entire
host could hardly have been found a single cavalier whose horse was not
covered with trappings, and its neck with mail. "For some there were
that carried divers figures painted on the aforesaid trappings, and
others that bore upon their helmets jewels that were a token from their
mistresses. And others carried gold or silver bells suspended from their
horses' necks by thick chains; or plates upon their helmets studded with
precious stones, or small targes richly garnished with strange figures
and devices. Nor was there less variety in the crests upon their
helmets; for some bore likenesses of savage beasts, and others plumes of
various colours; while others carried but a plume or two upon their
helmet crest, like unto those upon the forehead of their horses."

The fifteenth century is often called in Spain her golden age of
arms--not in the sense that she invented anything new relating to this
craft, but that her warriors were more fully and more frequently
equipped with what had been imported from elsewhere. As in the case of
crested helmets, foreign initiative brought about the substitution of
plate or German armour--developed from the chain armour and the coat of
mail--for the earlier sets of disconnected pieces. Possibly, as a
chronicle which describes the Englishmen and Gascons who were present at
the siege of Lerma in 1334 would seem to indicate, it was in consequence
of this direct association with the foreigner that the older form of
Spanish harness yielded to the new. However this may be, plate armour
certainly appeared in Spain at some time in the fourteenth century, and
grew in vogue throughout the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries.
Suits of armour worn by Spanish pikemen and crossbowmen of this period
may be profitably studied in the Royal Armoury (Plate xl.); and the same
harness is reproduced in the choir-stalls of Toledo cathedral, carved by
Maestre Rodrigo in 1495. It is also useful to consult the prolix
description of the _Passo Honroso_ (1433) of Suero de Quiñones, held at
the bridge of Orbigo, as well as the painting of the battle of La
Higueruela (Plate xli.) in the Sala de las Batallas of the Escorial. We
find from these authoritative sources that Spanish harness then
consisted of the war-hat or _capacete_, with its _barbote_ or piece to
cover the mouth and cheeks, and fringe of mail (_mantillos_) to protect
the neck: the _coracina_ or korazin of tinned steel plates;[115] the
coat of mail; armlets and gauntlets; leg-pieces with closed greaves; and
steel-pointed mail shoes.

  [115] The following armourers' marks are stamped on various korazins in
        the Royal Armoury, made in Aragon and dating from the fifteenth


The Spanish man-at-arms of the sixteenth century is well described by
Martin de Eguiluz, in his book, _Milicia, Discursos, y Regla Militar_.
"The man is mounted and bears a lance. His head is covered with a
visored helmet. He wears a double breastplate, of which the outer piece
is called _volante_. His thighs are guarded by cuisses, his legs by
greaves, and his feet by shoes of mail or iron. His horse's face, neck,
breast, and haunches are covered with iron or with doubled leather.
These coverings are called _bardas_, and the horses protected by them
_bardados_, of which each man-at-arms is called upon to possess two."

                          [Illustration: XLIV
                             MOORISH SWORD
                    (_Casa de los Tiros, Granada_)]

These plainer sets of war-harness for horses were made in Spain. The
costlier bards, whether for war or tournament, were made in Italy and
Germany, and often match the outfit of the rider in the splendour and
luxuriance of their decoration. Striking examples of these bards are in
the Royal Armoury, including one (Plate xlii.) which formerly belonged
to Philip the Third. Probably it is the same referred to in the
manuscript account of Valladolid from which I have already quoted
curious notices of other crafts. Speaking of the Duke of Lerma in 1605,
this narrative says; "He rode a beautiful horse with richly decorated
arms and gold-embroidered bard, fringed, and with medallions in relief.
The trappings, reaching to the ground, were of black velvet covered with
silver plates as large as dinner-plates, and others of a smaller size
that represented arms and war-trophies, all of them gilt, and studded
with precious stones. I heard say that this armour which the Duke now
wore, had once belonged to the Emperor, and is now the King's."[116]

  [116] My theory that this harness and the one in the Royal Armoury are
        the same is strengthened by the official inventory, which
        specifies "a band of gold and silver, striped, and with devices
        in relief, studded with lapis lazuli, and yellow gems and luminous
        crystals." The Count of Valencia de Don Juan says that this fine
        outfit, except the portions which are represented in the plate,
        was mutilated and dispersed in later years, and that he has
        discovered fragments in the museums of Paris and Vienna, and in
        the collection of Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild.

The crossbow was an arm of great importance from about the eleventh
century until the seventeenth, and Spain, throughout the latter of these
centuries, was celebrated for their manufacture. Roquetas, a Catalan,
"master-maker of crossbows," constructed them of steel, so skilfully and
finely that they could be carried concealed inside the sleeve of a coat,
and discharged without awaking the suspicion of the victim. A letter of
René of Anjou, quoted by the Count of Valencia de Don Juan, also refers
to the skill of the Catalans in making crossbows, and mentions one of
these weapons constructed by "Saracen," of Barcelona, "who refuses to
teach his craft to Christians." The letter further states that this arm
was of a curious shape, and that, "despite its small dimensions, it
carries to a greater distance than any other I have yet possessed."

A handsome Moorish crossbow, inlaid with bronze (Plate xliii.), exists
in the provincial museum of Granada. The Royal Armoury has no example of
the rare form of crossbow fitted with wheeled gear, but all the commoner
kinds employed for hunting or for war are represented here, including
those with the _armatoste_ or goat's-foot lever, stirruped crossbows,
and those which have the _torno_ or windlass (French _cranequin_).
Demmin appends the following note to an illustration in his handbook of
a crossbow with a goat's-foot lever fixed to the stock:--"A similar
weapon in ironwood, sixteenth century, belonged to Ferdinand the First,
proved by the inscription on the bow: DOM FERNANDO REI DE ROMANO,
followed by four Golden Fleeces. It bears the name of the Spanish
armourer Juan Deneinas. This valuable crossbow once belonged to M.
Spengel, at Munich, but it is at present in the collection of the Count
of Nieuwerkerke."

There is also in the Royal Armoury a crossbow of the scarcer kind known
in Spanish as _ballestas de palo_, in which the gaffle is not of steel,
but put together from slips of springy woods, including yew. The wings
are tipped with horn, and traces of heraldic and Renaissance decoration,
painted on parchment, yet remain upon the weapon. Other portions are
inlaid. Except for the erasure of the painting, this arm is splendidly
preserved, and still retains its double cord, nut, and pins, together
with the separate lever.

Another interesting crossbow in this armoury belonged to Charles the
Fifth, who used it for the chase. It has a _verja_ or yard of steel
engraved with the letter C four times repeated and surmounted by a
crown, and bears the inscription, PRO · IMPERATORE · SEMPER · AVGVSTO ·
PLVS · VLTRA ·, together with · IV DE LA FVETE ·, for Juan de la
Fuente, the name of a celebrated maker of these parts of a crossbow. The
shaft (_tablero_), ornamented in bone and iron, is from the hand of
another master, Juan Hernandez, whose signature is IO: HRZ. The Count of
Valencia de Don Juan supposed that this was the one crossbow which
Charles took with him to the rustic solitude of Yuste, and which is
mentioned in a document at Simancas as "a crossbow with its gear and
gaffles (it is in His Majesty's possession, but he has not paid for

                           [Illustration: XLV
                       SWORD OF BOABDIL EL CHICO
                    (_Museum of Artillery, Madrid_)]

Hitherto I have traced the war-equipment of the Spanish Christians only.
In the early period of Mohammedan rule, the conquerors used a simple
dress for war, consisting of the _capacete_ or _almofar_ for the head,
secured by a chain beneath the chin and covered by a piece of cloth
called _schasch_, hanging to just below the shoulders; a wide sleeveless
tunic; a shirt of mail; tight breeches, and leather shoes. Their weapons
were the lance and sword. The foot-soldiery wore the _djobba_, a
tight-sleeved tunic of white wool, bound to the body by a scarf, and
leather shoes, and carried as their arms a _capacete_ of beaten iron,
without a crest or cheek-pieces; a large round shield with its
projecting umbo; and either a lance, or a double-edged and double-handed
sword. Such are the details represented in the _Codex of the
Apocalypse_, preserved in the cathedral of Gerona. As time progressed,
the weapons and defensive armour of these Spanish Moors grew more
luxurious and ornate, being often decorated with enamels, precious
stones, or inlaid metals such as silver, gold, and bronze. Prominent
centres of this industry were Murcia, Zaragoza, and Toledo, which are
even said to have surpassed Damascus. Andalusia, too, was celebrated for
her gold-inlaid cuirasses and coats of mail; while, according to El
Idrisi, the town of Jativa enjoyed a widespread fame for every kind of
decorative armour.[117]

  [117] _Historia General del Arte_: García Llansó; _Armas_; pp. 440, 441.

The military outfit of the Spanish Moors was, therefore, much the same
as that of Christian Spain. Toledo under Muslim rule continued to be
famous for her swords. Moorish Seville, Ronda, and Valencia were also
favourably known for weapons, household knives, and scissors. Cutlery in
the Moorish style is still produced in certain parts of eastern Spain,
and in his _History of the Mohammedan Dynasties_ of this country,
Gayangos tells us of a knife which bore upon one side of the blade the
inscription in Arabic characters, "_With the help of God I will inflict
death upon thy adversary_," and upon the other side, in Castilian, the
words, "_Knife-factory of Antonio Gonzalez. Albacete, 1705._"

The primitive Spanish-Moorish sword was an arm of moderate breadth used
both for cutting and for thrusting. As time went on, this people
gradually adopted swords of Spanish make or pattern, such as the
ponderous _brandimartes_ and _montantes_ made for wielding with both
hands. The Granadino writer Aben Said complains that the adoption of the
arms, and even of the costume of the Spanish Christians, was prevalent
at Granada in the thirteenth century. "Sultans and soldiers alike," he
said, "dress in the manner of the Christians, even to their arms and
armour, crimson cloaks, standards, and saddlery. They wield in battle a
shield and a long lance,[118] which serves them to attack with; nor do
they seem to care for Arab bows or maces, but prefer to use the Frankish

  [118] This weapon can have been no other than the typical Iberian lance.

Nevertheless, the warriors of Granada carried several weapons which were
not of Christian origin. The tribe of the Beni-Merines brought across
from Africa a kind of sword called often in the Christian chronicles the
_espada gineta_, used principally, as we gather from its name, by those
addicted to the Moorish mode of horsemanship, or riding with short
stirrups. The use of it extended later to the Christian Spaniards, and
it is said to have contributed in later times to the victory of the
Spanish army at Pavia. Other swords in use among the Granadinos were the
_alfange_, the _chifarra_, the _chifarote_, and the _nammexi_. The last
of these is described in an old dictionary of the Valencian and
Castilian languages as a kind of scimitar, although Quatremère and
Fleischer believe it to have been a dagger.

                          [Illustration: XLVI
                       DAGGER OF BOABDIL EL CHICO
                    (_Museum of Artillery, Madrid_)]

Another author who describes the arms and armour of the Granadinos is
Al-Jattib, who says in his _Splendour of the New Moon_; "There are in
Granada two kinds of soldiery--those of Al-Andalus and those of Africa.
Their leader is a prince of royal blood, or some exalted personage at
court. Formerly they used the Christian arms; that is, ample coats of
mail, heavy shields, thick iron helmets, lances with broad points, and
insecure saddles.... Now they have discarded that equipment, and are
beginning to use short cuirasses, light helmets, Arab saddles, leather
shields, and thin lances." Of the African troops the same historian
adds; "Their weapons for attacking are spears, either short or long,
which they propel by pressing with the finger. These arms they call
_marasas_; but for daily exercise they use the European bow."

Descriptions of the Spanish-Moorish swords inserted in the chronicles
and poems of the Middle Ages, together with the few examples that have
been preserved until our time, enable us to form an accurate idea of the
shape and decoration of these weapons generally. Those of the sultans
and the Muslim aristocracy were, as a rule, profusely ornamented, either
with precious stones or with enamels, or else with delicate and lavish
damascening, or with the characteristic Oriental _ataujía_-work of gold
and silver inlay. Inscriptions, too, were freely used upon the hilt or
scabbard. Thus we are told that the great Almanzor kept for daily use a
sword which bore the legend; "_Strive in warfare till ye win great
victories. Battle with the infidels till ye win them over to Islam_";
and similar inscriptions may be quoted in great number. But four or five
of these magnificent arms have proved superior to the ravages of time,
and naturally tell us more than any weapons whose renown survives in
written records merely. Among such extant Spanish-Moorish swords are two
attributed respectively to Aliatar and Abindarraez; two others which are
known to have belonged to the last ill-fated monarch of the Moors of
Spain, Boabdil el Chico; and another, considered to have also been
Boabdil's property, now in possession of the Marquises of Campotejar,
owners of the Generalife and of the Casa de los Tiros at Granada.

The "sword of Aliatar," preserved in the Museum of Artillery at Madrid,
is said to have been wrested from the clenched hand of that warrior,
father-in-law of Boabdil and governor of Loja, as his corpse was swept
away down stream after the rout of the Moorish expedition at Lucena.
This arm is richly damascened as well as decorated with the
characteristic _ataujía_. The centre of the hilt is made of ivory, and
the pommel and crossbars--which latter terminate in elephants' heads
with slightly upturned trunks--of damascened and inlaid iron, ornamented
here and there with _ataujía_. Part of the blade--probably about an
eighth--is broken off. The sheath has disappeared.

An idle superstition has attributed the so-called "sword of Abindarraez"
to the hero of the well-known sixteenth-century romance entitled _The
Abencerraje and the Beautiful Jarifa._ This weapon, which for many years
was in possession of the Narvaez family, belongs at present to the
Marquis of La Vega de Armijo. The decoration is not particularly rich,
and part of it is worn away; but the narrow blade is still engraved
with figures or portraits from the story which has given the sword its

The sword (Pl. xliv.) belonging to the Marquises of Campotejar, and
which is preserved in the Casa de los Tiros at Granada, bears some
resemblance to the "sword of Aliatar," and has about the same
dimensions. Although it is commonly believed that Boabdil was the
original owner of this sword, Gómez Moreno considers that more probably
it belonged to one of the Moorish princes of Almería. The handle and
crossbars, as well as the shape of the sheath, are silver-gilt, covered
with minute arabesque ornamentation forming leaves and stems, and
further decorated with enamel. The sheath is of Morocco leather worked
with silver thread. The crossbars, curving abruptly down,[119] terminate
in elephants' trunks boldly upturned towards the pommel. The blade is
stamped with a Toledo mark consisting of Castilian letters and a

  [119] In the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, this characteristically
        eastern downward curve of the crossbars grew to be popular even
        with the Christian Spaniards, as we observe from the swords of
        Ferdinand himself, preserved in the Royal Armoury at Madrid, and
        the Chapel Royal of the cathedral of Granada.

But the most important, interesting, and beautiful specimens of
Spanish-Moorish arms preserved to-day are those which were captured from
Boabdil at the battle of Lucena (1482), when the monarch was made
prisoner by the young Alcaide de los Donceles, Don Diego Fernandez de
Cordova. A manuscript _History of the House of Cordova_, quoted by
Eguilaz Yanguas,[120] says that upon the day in question, irretrievably
disastrous to the Moorish cause in Spain, Boabdil carried "a short,
silver-handled sword, a damascened dagger, and a lance and buckler of
great strength" (Plates xlv. and xlvi.). These arms, together with
another and a larger sword (_montante_ or _estoque real_) for wielding
with both hands, and certain articles of Boabdil's clothing, continued
in the captor's family for centuries, and were, some years ago,
presented by the Marquises of Villaseca, his direct descendants, to the
National Museum of Artillery.

  [120] _Las Pinturas de la Alhambra_, p. 15.

                          [Illustration: XLVII
                             MOORISH SWORD
                   (_Hilt and upper part of sheath_)]

The smaller or _gineta_ sword[121] is handsomer and more important
than the large _estoque_. The crossbars, as we find so often in weapons
of this character and date, are bent abruptly down, and then curve up in
a design of dragons' heads--the well-known emblem of the Nasrite sultans
of Granada. Part of the handle is of solid gold adorned with crimson,
white, and blue enamel distributed about the top and bottom of the hilt,
the pommel, and the _arriaces_ or crossbars. The centre of the hilt
consists of ivory, richly carved. On either side of it are two octagonal
intersecting figures, bearing upon one side, in semi-Cufic characters,
the words, "_Achieve thy aim_," and on the other, "_in preserving his_
(_i.e._ the owner's) _life_." Round the upper border of the ivory is
carved the sentence; "_In the name of God; the power belongs to Him, and
there is no Divinity but He. Happiness proceeds from God alone_"; and
round the lower border, "_The marvellous belongs to God. Assuredly at
the outset the ignorant do not know their God; seeing that error is
their custom._"

  [121] The Count of Valencia de Don Juan states that seven
        Hispano-Moresque _gineta_ swords are known to exist to-day: the
        one vwhich is here described, and those belonging to the Marquises
        of Viana and Pallavicino, Baron de Sangarrén, the Duke of Dino,
        Señor Sánchez Toscano, the archæological museum at Madrid, the
        museum of Cassel in Germany, and the national library at Paris, A
        _gineta_ sword in the Madrid Armoury popularly attributed to
        Boabdil can never have belonged to him. The hilt is modern, and
        the blade proceeds from Barbary.

Other inscriptions of a sacred character, combined with delicate
_ataujía_-work, are on the pommel and the upper portion of the hilt; but
it has been remarked that, although the entire decoration is amazingly
elaborate and rich, these inscriptions nowhere indicate that the weapon
belonged to a personage of royal blood.

The sheath of this most sumptuous arm is also lavishly adorned with
silver and enamel on a purple leather ground. The blade is of a later
date than either sheath or hilt, and bears the letter S, believed to be
the mark of Alonso Sahagun the elder, of Toledo. The total length of
this weapon is thirty-nine inches; and Gayangos declares that it was
worn suspended by a belt between the shoulders.[122]

  [122] A number of Moorish swords are mentioned in the inventory,
        compiled in 1560, of the Dukes of Alburquerque. One is
        particularly interesting. It is described as "a Moorish _gineta_
        sword which belongs to the Count of Monteagudo, and is pawned for
        six thousand _maravedis_. The sheath is of bay leather, worked in
        gold thread. The chape and fittings are of silver, decorated with
        green, blue, purple, and white enamel. There are two serpents'
        heads upon the fitting, together with the figure of a monster
        worked in gold thread on a little plate, and two large scarlet
        tassels: the little plate has three ends of the same enamel and a
        silver-gilt buckle." A note at the margin adds; "The chape is
        wanting, and is owed us by the Marquis of Comares, who lost it at
        the cane-play at Madrid."

        The two serpents' heads formed part of the arms of the Alahmar
        sultans of Granada; so that from this and from the richness of
        this weapon we may infer that it had once belonged to Mussulman
        royalty. The same inventory describes "a Moorish scimitar with
        gilded hilt; the cross and pommel, and a great part of the
        scimitar itself, being of gilded _ataujía_ work. The sheath is
        green inside, and black and gilt upon the face; and hanging from
        the hilt is a gold and purple cord with a button and a black

The large _montante_ which belonged to the same ill-fated monarch has a
cylindrical hilt, narrower in the centre of the handle than at either
end. This hilt is made of steel inlaid with _lacería_ or network
ornament in ivory. In a small shield within the decoration of the
pommel, appear the words "_To God_"; and in the centre of the handle,
the familiar motto of the Nasrite sultans of Granada; "_The only
Conqueror is God._"

Part of the blade is broken off. That which is left is broad and
straight, with two grooves (one of which extends about three inches
only) on each side, and bears an oriental mark consisting of five
half-moons. The sheath is of brown Morocco decorated with a small gilt
pattern forming shells and flowers. The mouth and chape are silver-gilt.

In beautiful and skilful craftsmanship Boabdil's dagger or _gumía_
matches with his swords. The handle is of steel inlaid in ivory with
floral patterns, and terminates in a large sphere, similarly decorated.
The blade has a single edge, and is exquisitely damascened in gold
designs which cover more than half of all its surface. Along one side we
read the inscription; "_Health, permanent glory, lasting felicity,
permanent glory, lasting felicity, and lasting and permanent glory
belong to God_"; and on the other side, "_It was made by Reduan._"

The sheath of this little arm is made of crimson velvet richly
embroidered with gold thread, and hanging from it is a large tassel of
gold cord and crimson silk. The chape and mouth are silver-gilt,
profusely decorated, and the latter of these pieces is embellished with
circular devices of a lightish green enamel, in addition to the chasing.

The small, plain knife, also preserved among the spoil, was carried in
this sheath, together with the dagger.[123]

  [123] To-day the craft of finely decorating arms is not forgotten in
        Morocco. "A silversmith advanced to show a half-completed
        silver-sheathed and hafted dagger, engraved with pious sentences,
        as, "God is our sufficiency and our best bulwark here on earth,"
        and running in and out between the texts a pattern of a rope with
        one of the strands left out, which pattern also ran round the
        cornice of the room we sat in, and round the door, as it runs
        round the doors in the Alhambra and the Alcazar, and in thousands
        of houses built by the Moors, and standing still, in Spain. The
        dagger and the sheath were handed to me for my inspection, and on
        my saying that they were beautifully worked, the Caid said keep
        them, but I declined, not having anything of equal value to give
        in return."--Cunninghame Graham; _Mogreb-El-Acksa_, p. 234.

                         [Illustration: XLVIII
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

The Royal Armoury at Madrid is often thought by foreigners[124] to
contain a representative collection of the arms, offensive and
defensive, used by the Spanish people through all their mediæval and
post-mediæval history. This is not so. Although it is the choicest and
the richest gallery in Europe, the Armería Real was formed almost
entirely from the _cámaras de armas_ or private armouries of Charles the
Fifth and of his son, and is, as Mélida describes it, "a splendid
gallery of royal arms," dating, with very few exceptions, from the
sixteenth century.

  [124] _E.g._, by Townsend, who wrote of it, with ill-informed
        enthusiasm, as "an epitome of Spanish history." Swinburne's notice
        of the same armoury is also curious: "At the bottom of the
        palace-yard is an old building, called the Armeria, containing a
        curious assortment of antique arms and weapons, kept in a manner
        that would have made poor Cornelius Scriblerus swoon at every
        step; no notable housemaid in England has her fire-grates half so
        bright as these coats of mail; they show those of all the heroes
        that dignify the annals of Spain; those of Saint Ferdinand,
        Ferdinand the Catholic, his wife Isabella, Charles the Fifth, the
        great Captain Gonsalo, the king of Granada, and many others. Some
        suits are embossed with great nicety. The temper of the sword
        blades is quite wonderful, for you may lap them round your waist
        like a girdle. The art of tempering steel in Toledo was lost about
        seventy years ago, and the project of reviving and encouraging it
        is one of the favourite schemes of Charles the Third, who has
        erected proper works for it on the banks of the Tagus."

The greater part of its contents were made within a limited interval, as
well as not produced in Spain. Such are the glittering and gorgeous
harnesses constructed for the actual use of Charles the Fifth by
celebrated German and Italian armourers, ponderous suits for jousting or
parade, or lighter suits for combat in the field, whether on foot or
horseback (Plate xlviii.), fashioned, chiselled, and inlaid by craftsmen
such as the Negroli and Piccini of Milan, Bartolommeo Campi of Pesaro,
or Kollman of Augsburg, bombastically called, by a Spanish poet in the
mode of Gongora, "the direct descendant of Vulcanus."

This German and Italian armour, with its multitude of accessorial
pieces,[125] falls outside the province of a book on Spanish arts and
crafts. Nevertheless, I reproduce, as being too little known outside
Madrid, the sumptuous jousting harness (Plate xlix.), of Charles the
Fifth, made for the emperor when he was a lad of only eighteen years by
Kollman Helmschmied of Augsburg.[126] Laurent Vital, describing the
royal jousts at Valladolid in 1518, relates that "après marchait le Roy
bien gorgiasement monté et armé d'un fin harnais d'Alemaigne, plus
reluisant que d'argent brunti." This is the very harness told of by the
chronicler. The helmet turns the scale at forty pounds; the entire suit
at two hundred and fifty-three pounds; and the length of the lance
exceeds eleven feet.

  [125] Throughout this time, the full equipment of the knight consisted
        of no less than four complete suits, for tournament or battle, or
        for foot or mounted fighting, together with their lances, swords,
        and targes. The Alburquerque inventory describes in detail a
        complete set ("all of it kept in a box") of war and tourneying
        harness belonging to the duke. Although the warriors of that day
        were short of stature, their muscular strength is undeniable, for
        one of their lances has to be lifted nowadays by several men. When
        the author of _Mogreb-El-Acksa_ wrote contemptuously of the
        "scrofulous champions tapping on each other's shields," he was
        perhaps, forgetful for a moment of this fact.

  [126] The Count of Valencia de Don Juan has found, from documents at
        Simancas, that in the year 1525 Kollman visited Toledo to measure
        Charles for armour. It is also certain, adds the Count, that, in
        order to produce this armour of a perfect fit, Kollman first
        moulded Charles' limbs in wax, and then transferred the moulds to
        lead. In a budget of accounts which coincides with Kollman's visit
        to Toledo appears the following item: "Pour trois livres de cire
        et de plomb pour faire les patrons que maître Colman, armoyeur,
        a fait"--followed by details of the cost.

There is, however, also in this armoury a jousting harness (Plate l.)
formerly the property of Philip the First of Spain, a part of which,
including the cuirass, is known to be of Spanish make. The cuirass in
question bears the mark of a Valencia armourer, and the harness
generally dates from about the year 1500, at which time Gachard tells us
in his _Chroniques Belges_ that Philip was learning to joust "à la mode
d'Espaigne." Besides the enormous helmet and the Spanish-made cuirass,
covered with gold brocade, this ornament includes a tourneying lance
with a blunt three-pointed head,[127] and a curious form of rest, said
by the Count of Valencia de Don Juan to be peculiar to the Spaniards and
Italians. This rest is stuffed with cork, on which, just as the fray
began, the iron extremity of the lance was firmly driven. Another
interesting detail is the _cuja_, fastened to the right side of the
cuirass, and also stuffed with cork, made use of to support the lance
upon its passage over to the rest. Nor in this instance was the _cuja_ a
superfluous device, seeing that the lance is over fifteen feet in

  [127] This, in the later Middle Ages, was a favourite form of tourneying

These are the principal portions of the harness. The seemingly
insufficient protection for the arms is explained by the fact that the
solid wooden shield completely covered the fighter's left arm, while
the right would be defended by the shield-like disc or _arandela_ of the

                          [Illustration: XLIX
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

Spanish shields and swords of great antiquity and interest are also in
this armoury. The oldest of the shields dates from the twelfth century,
and proceeds from the monastery of San Salvador de Oña, Burgos. The
material is a wood resembling cedar, although much eaten by moth, and is
covered on both sides with parchment bearing traces of primitive
painting of a non-heraldic character. Inside the shield, this decoration
consisted of a black ground crossed diagonally by a broad red band, and
outside, of a red ground covered with rhomboid figures, some in gilt and
some in colour. Such figures were a popular pattern at this time and on
this class of objects. The general stoutness of this shield shows that
it was meant for war. It still retains the strap which slung it from the
warrior's neck, as well as fragments of the braces--made of buffalo
leather covered with crimson velvet--for the hand.

Another shield, proceeding from the same monastery, dates from the
thirteenth century. The material, here again, is wood and parchment; but
in this hundred years formal heraldic ornament had superseded fancy or
conventional devices. Accordingly, this shield is painted with a
blazon, now much worn, of which, however, enough remains to show that it
consisted once upon a time of four black chaperons crowned with gold
_fleurs-de-lis_ upon a gold ground--said to have been the arms of Don
Rodrigo Gomez, Count of Bureba.

The _scut_, or polished metal shield, with painted blazonry or other
decoration, was limited to Aragon and Cataluña.[128]

  [128] _Historia General del Arte; Armas_, by García Llansó; p. 445.

Among the smaller and more modern shields preserved in this collection
are two wooden bucklers dating from the sixteenth century. One is in the
Spanish-Moorish style and of a convex shape, with iron bordering and
umbo, and a lining of yellow brocade. The other, of the Christian
Spaniards, is small and lined with painted parchment, and was intended,
so the inventory says, "for going about at night."[129]

  [129] "Dès que le soir arrive, on ne va point n'y à Madrid ny ailleurs,
        sans cotte de maille et sans _broquet_ qui est une
        rondache."--Bertaut de Rouen, _Voyage d'Espagne_ (1659 A.D.),
        p. 294.

        The arms of Spaniards promenading after dark were even fixed by
        law. The _Suma de Leyes_ of 1628 ordains that after ten o'clock
        nobody is to carry arms at all unless he also bears a lighted
        torch or lantern. No arquebus, on pain of a fine of ten thousand
        _maravedis_, may have a barrel less than a yard long. Nobody may
        carry a sword or rapier the length of whose blade exceeds a yard
        and a quarter, or wear a dagger unless a sword accompanies it.
        Sometimes these prohibitions extended even to seasons of the year.
        In 1530 an Ordinance of Granada proclaims that from the first of
        March until the last day of November nobody may carry a hatchet,
        sickle, or dagger, "except the dagger which is called a
        _barazano_, of a palm in length, even if the wearer be a
        shepherd." The penalty for infringement of this law was a fine of
        ten thousand _maravedis_; but labourers who worked upon a farm
        were exempted from the prohibition.

        Swinburne wrote from Cataluña, in 1775, that "amongst other
        restrictions, the use of slouched hats, white shoes, and large
        brown cloaks is forbidden. Until of late they durst not carry any
        kind of knife; but in each public house there was one chained to
        the table, for the use of all comers."

There is also a richly gilt and silvered buckler of the seventeenth
century, made at Eugui in Navarre, and covered with a scene--decadent
in design and workmanship--which represents the judgment of Paris.
Defensive armour, chiefly of a highly decorative kind, was made all
through this century at the capital of Navarre, Pamplona. The Royal
Armoury contains a Pamplonese parade harness (Plate lii.), offered as a
gift to Philip the Third, as well as six diminutive sets of armour made
to his order for the youthful princes Don Felipe, Don Fernando, and Don

The _adarga_ was a kind of targe used by the light cavalry, and had its
origin in Africa. Those which were stored in the palace of the Nasrite
sultans of Granada are described by Al-Makkari as "solid, without pores,
soft to the touch, and famed for their imperviousness." The material was
strong leather, such as cowhide, often embroidered with a scutcheon or
with arabesques. Two Spanish-made _adargas_ in this armoury are
particularly handsome. One is of Moorish craftsmanship, and dates from
the end of the fifteenth century. The other (Plate liii.), apparently
the work of a Spanish Christian and dating from a century later, is
embroidered in silver thread and coloured silk with arabesque devices
and also with four coats of arms, one of which belongs to the noble
family of Fernández de Cordova. The dimensions of this shield are a yard
in height by thirty inches in breadth.

                            [Illustration: L
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

There also are preserved in this collection a shield (late sixteenth
century) adorned by Mexican Indians with a most elaborate "mosaic of
feather-work," and a number of Spanish _adargas_ of the same period, for
playing the _juego de cañas_ or "game of canes." The armoury contained
in former days as many as forty-two _adargas_; but the fire of 1884
completely destroyed sixteen and badly damaged twenty-three,
obliterating their heraldic and other decoration. A yet more sinister
event befell on December 1st, 1808, when the Spanish mob, exasperated by
the French, broke in and seized three hundred swords, not one of which
was afterwards recovered. Mention of these disasters leads me to recall
the quantity of beautiful or historic military gear that Spain has lost
through many tribulations and vicissitudes. Formerly her noble families
had excellent collections in their palaces or castles. Such were the
private armouries of the Dukes of Pastrana at Guadalajara, and of the
Dukes of Alburquerque at Cuéllar Castle, near Segovia. Bertaut de Rouen
describes the first as "une des plus belles qui se voyent pour un
seigneur particulier. Il y a quantité d'armes anciennes, et l'on y void
une épée qui s'allonge et s'accourcit quand on veut, de deux pieds et
demy."[130] The Cuéllar armoury was pulled to pieces by Philip the
Fourth to arm his troops against the French. "Send me," he wrote to the
Duke from Madrid, in a letter dated April 16th, 1637, "all your pistols,
carbines, harness for horses, breastplates and other arms for mounted
fighting"; and the loyal nobleman complied upon the spot, despatching
more than five hundred pieces, many of which were doubtless of the
greatest interest.[131]

  [130] _Voyage d'Espagne_, p. 199.

  [131] Gonzalo de la Torre de Trassierra; Articles on Cuéllar published
        in the _Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones_.

Had I the erudition and the time, I would attempt to write, as it
deserves to be written, an introduction to the history of Spanish
swords. Of all the objects mentioned in these volumes, here is the most
inherently symbolic of the Spanish character and history. The Spanish
Moors and Spanish Christians spoke of it as something superhuman. "Once
the sword is in the hand of man," observed, in solemn tones, the Wise
Alfonso, "he hath it in his power to raise or lower it, to strike with
it, or to abandon it." The Spanish Mussulmans talked of putting "clothes
and breeches" on a sword that had a sheath, as though it were a
breathing person; while a Spaniard of the time of Gongora would often
use such language as the following: "Truly in point of look there is as
great a difference between a costly sword and a _Toledan Loyalty_ or
_Soldier's Dream_, as between a marquis and a muleteer, or a washerwoman
and the Infanta. Yet every sword is virtually an hidalgo. Does not the
basest of our Toledanas, even to the _perrillos_ and _morillos_, which
have no core, and cost a dozen _reales_ merely, afford a chivalrous
lesson to its wearer, as it bids him _no me saques sin razon, ni me
envaines sin honor_?[132] The horse and the sword," he continued, taking
a magnificently damascened rapier, and stroking it caressingly, "are the
noblest friends of man, albeit the nobler is the sword; for the horse at
times is obstinate or faint-hearted, but the sword is ready continually.
The sword, moreover, possesses the chiefest of all virtues--justice, or
the power of dividing right and wrong; a soul of iron, which is
strength; and, last and greatest, the Cross, which is the symbol of the
blessed Catholic Faith."[133]

  [132] "Draw me not without a cause, nor sheathe me without honour." A
        sword with this inscription is in the Royal Armoury--(G. 71 of
        the official catalogue).

  [133] Leonard Williams; _Toledo and Madrid: their Records and Romances_;
        p. 102.

Notices of early Spanish sword-makers are far from common. Don Manuel G.
Simancas quotes the following, dated in the thirteenth century:--

"_Master Almerique._ By letters of the King and Queen, to Master
Almerique, for making the (sword) blades for the King; out of the MCC
_maravedis_ of his salary he received CCCC _maravedis_."

"_Master Enrique._ By letters of the King and Queen, to Master Enrique,
for making the swords, MCCCC, (of which) he received CCCCXII

Other entries of the same period relate to Juan Ferrández, armourer, who
received a sum for making coverings for arms and saddles; and to Master
Jacomin, who was paid three gold _doblas_, or sixty-three _maravedis_,
for making a breastplate.

In the inventory (1560) of the Dukes of Alburquerque occurs a very
curious notice which seems to show that mediæval Spanish swords were
manufactured even in the rural districts. The entry runs; "an old
grooved sword of a broad shape, bearing the words _Juanes me fezió_
("John made me"). In the middle of the same a P within a parted wave,
with Portuguese fittings, varnished, black silk hilt and fringes, and
double straps of black leather, with varnished ends and buckles and
black leather sheath. _Juan de Lobinguez made this sword at Cuéllar._"

                           [Illustration: LI
                            MOORISH BUCKLER
              (_Osier and metal. Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

The Spanish guilds of armourers enjoyed high favour,[134] since the
examination for admission to this craft was very strict, as well as
fenced about with curious prohibitions. Thus at Seville, "no Moor, Jew,
black man, or other person such as the law debars, shall set up a shop
for making and selling defensive arms, or undergo examination in this
craft."[135] The penalty for infringement of this law was confiscation
of the arms, together with a fine of twenty thousand _maravedis_.

  [134] In the Corpus Christi festival at Granada the banner which
        preceded all the rest was that of the armourers and knife-makers,
        followed by that of the silk-mercers. _Ordenanzas de Granada_;
        tit. 126.

  [135] _Armourers' Ordinances of Seville_, extant in ms. (quoted by
        Gestoso; _Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanos_; vol. I.,
        p. xxxvi).

Throughout these times the armourer's and the gilder's crafts are found
in closest union; just as the armourer's craft would often alternate
with that of the goldsmith or the silversmith. At Seville, the Ordinance
of 1512 prescribed that every candidate who came to be examined must
make "a set of horse harness, complete with stirrups, headstalls, spurs,
poitral, and the fittings of a sword; and he must silver several of
these pieces and blue them with fine blue; and make of iron, and gild
the spurs and fittings of the sword. Thus shall he make, and gild, and
silver the aforesaid pieces."

Equally severe and comprehensive are the swordsmiths' Ordinances (1527
to 1531) of Granada. The aspirant to the title of _oficial_ "shall mount
a sword for wear with ordinary clothes, fitted in black, together with
its straps, and fringed and corded hilt; besides a sword gilded a low
gold, together with its straps and other parts, all of a single colour.
Also he shall fit a velvet-scabbarded, silver-hilted sword, and a
two-handed sword, fully decorated, with the knife attaching to the same,
one-edged and with a smooth hilt; also a sword whose scabbard shall be
fitted with knives numbering not less than three; and a hilt of
_lacería_ (network ornament); and another sword in a white sheath, with
woven hilt; and another of a hand and a half."[136]

  [136] "_De mano y media_"; _i.e._ for wielding either with one hand or
        both. Specimens of this kind of sword existing at Madrid will be
        described immediately.

The Royal Armoury at Madrid contains an excellent collection of these
weapons. Among the earliest known to be of Spanish make are two which
date from the thirteenth century. One of them (Plate liv., No. 1), with
fittings of a later time, is frequently miscalled the "Cid's Colada,"
and seems to have been confounded with the genuine weapon of that hero
which was acquired in the thirteenth century by one of the sovereigns of
Castile, and which has probably disappeared.

The blade of this remarkable sword has two edges and tapers gradually to
the point. Part of the blade is slightly hollowed, and bears, extending
through about a quarter of the hollow or _canal_, the following
inscription or device:--


This is believed by some authorities to represent the words SI, SI, NO,
NON ("Yes, yes, no, no"); and by others to be a purely meaningless and
decorative pattern. The weapon, in any case, is in the best of
preservation, and is especially interesting from the fact that engraved
blades dating from this early period are very seldom met with. The Count
of Valencia de Don Juan believes this weapon to be the same _Lobera_
which belonged to Ferdinand the Third, and aptly quotes the following
passage from the chronicle. When Ferdinand, conqueror of Seville, was
lying on his death-bed in that capital, surrounded by his children, he
gave his blessing to his younger son, the Infante Don Manuel, and
addressed him in these words. "I can bequeath no heritage to you; but I
bestow upon you my sword Lobera, that is of passing worth, and wherewith
God has wrought much good to me." If the Count's surmise be accurate,
another passage which he quotes from the work _Nobleza y Lealtad_,
written by the twelve councillors of Ferdinand, fully explains the
legend on the blade. "_Sennor, el tu si sea asi, e el tu non, sea non;
que muy gran virtud es al Príncipe, ó á otro qualquier ome ser
verdadero, e grand seguranza de sus vasallos, e de sus cosas._"[137]

  [137] "Señor, let thy yea be yea, and thy nay be nay; for of great
         virtue is it in the prince, or any man, to be a speaker of the
         truth, and of great security to his vassals and to his property."

I said that the chiselled and gilded iron fittings to the blade are of a
later period. They date from the earlier part of the sixteenth century,
and are the work of Salvador de Avila, of Toledo.

                           [Illustration: LII
                        ARMOUR MADE AT PAMPLONA
                (_17th Century. Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

The other sword in this collection, and which also belongs to the
thirteenth century, has a long, broad blade with two edges and a central
groove, thinly engraved with circles (Pl. liv., No. 3, and Pl. lv.). The
crossbars are of silver-gilt, engraved with _ataurique_, curving towards
the blade and terminating in trefoils. A shield midway between them
bears the arms of Castile upon one side, and those of León upon the
other. The grip is of wood, covered with silver plates with decorated
borders, and the pommel is of iron, also covered with ornamental plates
of silver-gilt. Formerly this arm was studded with precious stones, but
all of these excepting one have disappeared.

The scabbard is of wood lined with sheepskin, and is covered with a
series of five silver-gilt plates, profusely decorated with
Hispano-Moresque _lacería_, studded with various kinds of gems. These
gems upon the scabbard amounted once upon a time to seventy-six, which
sum, through pilfering or accident (probably the former, since the
finest stones are gone), has been diminished by one-half. An inventory,
made in the reign of Philip the Second, states that the inner side of
the sheath, now wholly worn away, was covered with lions and castles,
and that the belt was of broad orange-coloured cloth, with silver

This sword has been absurdly attributed to the nephew of Charlemagne,
who lived not less than half a thousand years before its date of
manufacture. The Count of Valencia de Don Juan thought that it may have
been the property of a Spanish monarch of the thirteenth
century,--perhaps Alfonso the Learned, or Ferdinand the Third, Alfonso's
father. Ferdinand, we know, possessed a sword which he delivered with
due ceremony to his elder son, the Infante Don Fernando, upon his
leading out a force against the town of Antequera. This sword the
chronicler Alvar García de Santa María described as having "a sheath in
pieces, with many precious stones."

Of even greater interest than the foregoing weapon is the great
two-handed and two-edged _estoque_ or ceremonial sword of Ferdinand and
Isabella, which measures forty-two inches in length. The fittings are of
iron, gilded and engraved. The crossbars, terminating in small
half-moons, with the concave side directed outward, are inscribed with
the well-known motto of the Catholic sovereigns, TANTO MONTA, and with
a supplication to the Virgin, MEMENTO MEI O MATER DEI MEI. The pommel is
a flat disc, suggestive in its outline of a Gothic cross, and bears upon
one side the figure of Saint John together with the yoke, emblem of
Ferdinand the Catholic, and upon the other the sheaf of arrows, emblem
of his consort Isabella. The hilt is covered with red velvet bound with

The sheath of this most interesting sword--affirmed by the Count of
Valencia de Don Juan to have been used by Ferdinand and Isabella, and
subsequently by Charles the Fifth, in the ceremony of conferring
knighthood, and also, during the Hapsburg monarchy, to have been carried
by the master of the horse before the king upon his formal visit to a
city of his realm--is made of wood covered with crimson silk, bearing in
"superposed" embroidery the arms of Spain posterior to the conquest of
Granada, together with a repetition of the emblems of the Catholic
sovereigns (Plate liv., No. 2).

In the same collection are two other swords which probably belonged to
Ferdinand the Catholic. One of them (Pl. lvii., No. 1), has a discoid
pommel and a gilded iron handle. The flat crossbars grow wider and bend
down towards the blade, and on the hilt we read the words PAZ COMIGO
NVNCA VEO, Y SIEMPRE GVERA DESEO ("Never does peace attend me, and
always do I yearn for war").

This sword has been attributed to Isabella. The evidence for this belief
is slight, although the Count of Valencia de Don Juan discovered that in
the year 1500 Isabella was undoubtedly the possessor of certain weapons
and armour which she sometimes actually wore. Among these objects were
several Milanese breastplates, a small dagger with a gold enamelled hilt
in the shape of her emblem of the sheaf of arrows, and two swords, one
fitted with silver and enamel, and the other with iron.

The other sword, which probably belonged to Ferdinand the Catholic, is
of the kind known as "of a hand and a half" (_de mano y media_; see p.
248, _note_), and also of the class denominated _estoques de arzón_, or
"saddle-bow swords," being commonly slung from the forepart of the
saddle upon the left side of the rider. Ferdinand, however, had reason
to be chary of this usage, for Lucio Marineo Sículo affirms that at the
siege of Velez-Málaga the sword which he was wearing thus suspended,
jammed at a critical moment of the fray, and very nearly caused his
death. Sículo adds that after this experience Ferdinand invariably wore
his sword girt round his person, just as he wears it in the carving on
the choir-stalls of Toledo.

                          [Illustration: LIII
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

The Royal Armoury contains another sword improperly attributed both to
Ferdinand the Third and Ferdinand the Catholic. It dates from the
fifteenth century, and has a blade of unusual strength intended to
resist plate armour. This blade, which has a central ridge continued to
the very point, is very broad towards the handle, tapers rapidly, and
measures thirty-two inches. At the broader end, and on a gilded ground
embellished with concentric circles, are graven such legends as:--

"The Lord is my aid. I will not fear what man may do to me, and will
despise my enemies. Superior to them, I will destroy them utterly."

"Make me worthy to praise thee, O sweet and blessed Virgin Mary."

The handle is of iron, with traces of gilded decoration, and corded with
black silk. The Count of Valencia de Don Juan says that no reliable
information can be found concerning this fine arm. Its length and
general design would allow of its being used with one hand or with
both, and either slung from the saddle-bow or round the middle of a
warrior on foot.

Another handsome sword, wrongly attributed by the ignorant to Alfonso
the Sixth, is kept at Toledo, in the sacristy of the cathedral. The
scabbard is adorned with fourteenth-century enamel in the _champlevé_
style. Baron de las Cuatro Torres considers that this sword belonged to
the archbishop Don Pedro Tenorio (see p. 269), and adduces his proofs in
the _Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones_ for March 1897. The
prelate in question, appointed to command an army sent against Granada,
was, like so many of the Spanish mediæval clerics, of a warlike temper,
and "exchanged with great alacrity his rochet for his harness, and his
mitre for his helm."

One of the most ridiculous and barefaced forgeries in the Royal Armoury
is a sixteenth-century sword which has inscribed upon its blade the name
of the redoubtable Bernardo del Carpio. The Count of Valencia de Don
Juan says he remembers to have met with other blades of later mediæval
make, engraved with such legends as "belonging to Count
Fernán-Gonzalez," or even "Recaredus Rex Gothorum," while others in
this armoury are ascribed, without the least authority of fact or common
sense, to García de Paredes, Alvaro de Sande, and Hernando de Alarcón.
Others, again, with less extravagance, though not on solid proof, are
said to have belonged to Hernán Cortés, the Count of Lemos, and Diego
Hurtado de Mendoza.

Some, upon the other hand, belonged undoubtedly to celebrated Spanish
warriors of the olden time. Such are the swords of the Count of Coruña,
of Gonzalo de Córdova, and of the conqueror of Peru, Francisco Pizarro.
The first of these weapons (Pl. lvii., No. 4) has a superb hilt carved
in the style of the Spanish Renaissance, with crossbars curving down, a
_pas d'âne_, and a Toledo blade of six _mesas_ ("tables") or surfaces,
grooved on both sides, and ending in a blunt point. The armourer's mark,
which seems to represent a _fleur-de-lis_ four times repeated, is that
of the swordsmith Juan Martinez, whose name we read upon the blade,
together with the words IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI, and on the other side, in

The sword of "the great captain," Gonzalo de Córdova (1453-1515), is
not of Spanish make (Plate lvii., No. 3). It has a straight blade with
bevelled edges. The pommel and _quillons_ are decorated with Renaissance
carving, and the bars, which are of gilded iron, grow wider at their end
and curve towards the blade. The pommel, of gilded copper, is spherical,
and bears, upon one side, a scene which represents a battle, together
other side are carved his arms. Other inscriptions in Latin are also on
the pommel and the blade.

The Count of Valencia de Don Juan believed that this sword was a present
to Gonzalo from the corporation of some Italian town, and that it
replaced, as an _estoque real_, or sword of ceremony, the state sword
(see p. 252) of Ferdinand and Isabella.

                           [Illustration: LIV
                             SPANISH SWORDS
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

Pizarro's sword remained in possession of his descendants, the Marquises
of La Conquista, until as recently as 1809, in which year this family
presented it to a Scotch officer named John Downie, who had fought in
the Peninsular War against the French. Downie, in turn, bequeathed it to
his brother Charles, lieutenant-colonel in the Spanish army, from
whom it passed into the hands of Ferdinand the Seventh. The appearance
of this sword is not remarkable. It has a stout, four-surfaced blade,
with a powerful _recazo_ or central ridge, engraved with the Christian
name of Mateo Duarte, a swordsmith who was living at Valencia in the
middle of the sixteenth century. The hilt is of blued (_pavonado_)
steel, inlaid with leaves and other ornament in gold. The pommel is a
disc; the _quillons_ are straight, or very nearly so, and there is a
_pas d'âne_ (Plate lvii., No. 2).

The sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries are famous as the epoch of
the Spanish rapier. Toledo, as the world is well aware, enjoyed an
undisputed name for the production of these weapons. Within this ancient
and historic capital generations of artists bequeathed, from father to
son, and son to grandson, the secret (if there were a secret) of the
tempering of these matchless arms; nor have Toledo blades deteriorated
to this day. Many an idle superstition seeks to justify the talent and
dexterity of these swordsmiths; though probably the key to all their
skill was merely in the manual cunning, based on constant practice, of
the craftsman, as well as in the native virtues of the water of the

In one of my books I have described the workshop of an armourer of
Toledo in the sixteenth century. "After a few moments we entered the
Calle de las Armas, which struck me as having grown a good deal
narrower; and my companion, pausing beside an open doorway topped with a
sign depicting a halberd and a sword, invited me to enter. Two or three
steps led downwards to a dark, damp passage, and at the end of this was
a low but very large room, blackened by the smoke from half a dozen
forges. The walls were hung with a bewildering variety of arms and parts
of armour--gauntlets and cuirasses; morions, palettes, and
lobster-tails; partisans and ranseurs; halberds, bayonets, and
spontoons; as well as swords and daggers without number. Several anvils,
with tall, narrow buckets filled with water standing beside them, were
arranged about the stone-paved floor; and beside each forge was a large
heap of fine, white sand.

"The showers of sparks, together with a couple of ancient-looking lamps
whose flames shook fitfully to and fro in the vibration, showed thirty
or forty workmen busily engaged; and what with the clanging of the
hammers, the roaring of the bellows, and the strident hissing of the hot
metal as it plunged into the cold water, the racket was incessant.

"My cicerone surveyed the discordant scene with all the nonchalance of
lifelong custom, daintily eluding the columns of scalding steam, or
screening his _chambergo_ from the sparks. Finding, however, that I was
powerless to understand the remarks he kept addressing to me, he finally
held up his finger and gave the signal to cease work; upon which the
_oficial_ handed him a bundle of papers which I took to be accounts, and
the men, doffing their leathern aprons, and hanging them in a corner,
filed eagerly away.

"'It is quite simple,' said my companion, as though divining the query I
was about to put to him; 'and indeed, I often wonder why we are so
famous. They say it is the water; but any water will do. Or else they
say it is the sand; and yet this sand, though clean and pure, is just
the same as any other. Look! The blade of nearly all our swords is
composed of three pieces--two strips of steel, from Mondragón in
Guipúzcoa, and an iron core. This latter is the _alma_, or soul. The
three pieces are heated and beaten together; and when they grow red-hot
and begin to throw out sparks, they are withdrawn from the fire, and a
few handfuls of sand are thrown over them. The welding of the pieces is
then continued on the anvil; and, finally, the file is brought to bear
on all unevennesses, and the weapon passes on to the temperer, the
grinder, and the burnisher.'

"'It is in the tempering that we have earned our principal renown,
although this process is quite as simple as the rest. Upon the
forge--see, here is one still burning--a fire is made in the form of a
narrow trench, long enough to receive four-fifths of the length of the
weapon. As soon as the metal reaches a certain colour' (I thought I
noted a mischievous twinkle in the armourer's eyes, as though this
_certain colour_ were the key to all our conversation), 'I take these
pincers, and, grasping the portion which had remained outside the fire,
drop the weapon so, point downwards, into the bucket of water. Any curve
is then made straight by beating upon the concave side, and the part
which had been previously kept outside the trench of fire returns to the
forge and is duly heated. The entire blade is next smeared with mutton
fat, and rested against the wall to cool, point upwards. There is
nothing more except the finishing. Your sword is made.'"[138]

  [138] _Toledo and Madrid: their Records and Romances_; pp. 99-101.

                           [Illustration: LV
                (_13th Century. Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

The following passage from Bowles' _Natural History of Spain_, written
in 1752, is also of especial interest here:--"At a league's distance
from Mondragón is a mine of varnished, or, as miners term it, frozen
iron. It lies in the midst of soft red earth, and produces natural
steel--a very curious circumstance, seeing that, as I am assured, there
is no other mine of this description in the kingdom. A tradition exists
that the iron from this mine was used for making the swords, so
celebrated for their tempering, presented by Doña Catalina, daughter of
the Catholic Sovereigns, to her husband, Henry the Eighth of England. A
few of these swords are yet extant in Scotland, where the natives call
them _André Ferrara_,[139] and esteem them greatly. The famous
sword-blades of Toledo, and the Perrillo blades of Zaragoza, which are
still so highly valued, as well as others made elsewhere, are said to
have been forged from the iron of this mine, which yields forty per
cent. of metal. It is, however, somewhat hard to melt. With a little
trouble it is possible to secure excellent steel, because this mine,
like many another, possesses in itself the quality of readily taking
from the coal of the forge the spirit which is indispensable for making
first-rate swords; but without cementation I do not think it would serve
for making good files or razors."

  [139] Andrés Ferrara was a well-known armourer of Zaragoza.

"The swords of which I spoke as being so famed were generally either of
a long shape, for wearing with a ruff; or broad, and known as the
_arzón_, for use on horseback. It is probable that when the ruff was
suddenly abandoned at the beginning of this century, large quantities of
ready-fitted swords began to be imported from abroad, of such a kind as
was demanded by the novel clothing. This would account for the decline
and the eventual collapse of our factories, and the loss of our art of
tempering swords. Concerning the mode of executing this, opinions
differ. It is said by some that the blades were tempered in winter only,
and that when they were withdrawn for the last time from the furnace,
the smiths would shake them in the air at great speed three times on a
very cold day. Others say that the blades were heated to a
cherry-colour, then plunged for a couple of seconds into a deep jar
filled with oil or grease, and changed forthwith to another vessel of
lukewarm water, after which they were set to cool in cold water; all
these operations being performed at midwinter. Others, again, declare
that the blades were forged from the natural iron of Mondragón by
placing a strip of ordinary iron along their core so as to give them
greater elasticity; and that they were then tempered in the ordinary
manner, though always in the winter. Such are the prevailing theories
about the iron swords of Mondragón, which are, in truth, of admirable

Magnificent examples of Toledo sword-blades, produced while her craft
was at the zenith of its fame--that is, throughout the sixteenth and the
seventeenth centuries--are in the Royal Armoury (Pl. lvii., Nos. 5, 6,
7). Among them are a series of _montantes_ made for tournament or war,
and a superb blade, dated 1564, forged for Philip the Second by Miguel
Cantero. The Count of Valencia de Don Juan considered this to be one of
the finest weapons ever tempered; adding that the sword-blades of the
city of the Tagus were held in such esteem all over Europe that he had
seen, in numerous museums of the Continent, weapons professing to be
Toledo-made, in which the blade and mark are evidently forged; bearing,
for instance, _Ernantz_ for Hernandez, _Johanos_ for Juanes, and _Tomas
Dailae_ for Tomás de Ayala.

It is generally agreed that the changes in the national costume,
together with the importation of a lighter make of sword from France,
were directly responsible for the decline of the Toledo sword-blades
early in the eighteenth century. However, this decline was only
temporary. Townsend wrote in 1786: "From the Alcazar we went to visit
the royal manufactory of arms, with which I was much pleased. The steel
is excellent, and so perfectly tempered, that in thrusting at a target,
the swords will bend like whalebone, and yet cut through a helmet
without turning their edge. This once famous manufacture had been
neglected, and in a manner lost, but it is now reviving."

Laborde endorsed these praises subsequently: "Within a few years the
fabrication of swords has been resumed at Toledo; the place allotted to
this object is a handsome edifice, a quarter of a league distant from
the city, which commands the banks of the Tagus. This undertaking has
hitherto been prosperous; the swords are celebrated for the excellence
of their blades, which are of finely tempered steel."

                           [Illustration: LVI
                               OLD SWORD
            (_Erroneously attributed to the Cid. Collection
                      of the Marquis of Falces_)]

The modern small-arms factory of Toledo, situated on the right bank of
the Tagus, a mile from the city walls, had, in fact, been opened in
1783, when the same industry was also reviving at Vitoria, Barcelona,
and elsewhere. Toledo worthily maintains to-day her ancient and
illustrious reputation for this craft. The Tagus still supplies its
magic water for the tempering, while part of the prime material of the
steel itself proceeds from Solingen and Styria, and the rest from Trubia
and Malaga.

Cutlery continued to be made in Spain all through the eighteenth
century. Colmenar says that the knives of Barcelona were considered
excellent. According to Laborde, cutlery was made at Solsona and Cardona
in Cataluña, at Mora in New Castile, and at Albacete in Murcia. "The
cutlery of Solsona is in great repute; but the largest quantity is made
at Albacete. In the latter place are about twenty-eight working cutlers,
each of whom employs five or six journeymen, who respectively
manufacture annually six or seven thousand pieces, amounting in the
whole to about one hundred and eighty thousand pieces."[140]

  [140] Vol. iv. p. 358.


Cannon of a primitive kind were used in Spain comparatively early. A
large variety of names was given to these pieces, such as _cerbatanas_,
_ribadoquines_, _culebrinas_, _falconetes_, _pasavolantes_, _lombardas_
or _bombardas_, and many more; but the oldest, commonest, and most
comprehensive name of all was _trueno_, "thunder," from the terrifying
noise of the discharge. This word was used for both the piece and the
projectile. The Count of Clonard quotes Pedro Megía's _Silva de Varias
Lecciones_ to show that gunpowder was known in Spain as early as the
eleventh century. "Thunders" of some description seem to have been used
at the siege of Zaragoza in 1118; and a Moorish author, writing in 1249,
describes in fearsome terms "the horrid noise like thunder, vomiting
fire in all directions, destroying everything, reducing everything to
ashes." Al-Jattib, the historian of Granada, wrote at the beginning of
the fourteenth century that the sultan of that kingdom used at the siege
of Baza "a mighty engine, applying fire thereto, prepared with naphtha
and with balls." The Chronicle of Alfonso the Eleventh describes in a
quaint and graphic passage the crude artillery of that period, and the
panic it occasioned. At the siege of Algeciras in 1342, "the Moors that
were within the city threw many 'thunders' at the (Christian) host,
together with mighty balls of iron, to such a distance that several
overpassed the army, and some did damage to our host. Also, by means of
'thunders' they threw arrows exceeding great and thick, so that it was
as much as a man could do to lift them from the ground. And as for the
iron balls these 'thunders' hurled, men were exceedingly afraid thereof;
for if they chanced to strike a limb they cut it off as clean as with a
knife, and though the wound were but a slight one, yet was the man as
good as dead; nor was any chirurgery that might avail him, both because
the balls came burning hot, like flame, and because the powder which
discharged them was of such a kind that any wound it made was surely
mortal; and such was the violence of these balls, that they went through
a man, together with all his armour."

Towards the close of the same century the testament of Don Pedro Tenorio
(see p. 256), the bellicose archbishop of Alcalá de Henares, who
ruled that diocese from 1376 to 1399, contains the following
passage:--"_Item_. We bought crossbows and bassinets both for foot and
horse, together with shields, pikes, javelins, darts, lombards, hemp,
powder, and other munitions for the castles of our Church; of which
munitions we stored the greater quantity at Talavera and at Alcalá de
Henares, purposing to deposit them at Cazorla and in the castles of
Canales and of Alhamin, which we are now repairing after they were
thrown down by the King Don Pedro, and for the tower of Cazorla, which
we are now erecting. And it is our will that all of these munitions be
for the said castles and tower; and that no one lay his hand on them, on
pain of excommunication, excepting only the bishop elected and confirmed
who shall succeed us; and he shall distribute them as he holds best
among the aforesaid castles. And all the best of these munitions shall
be for the governorship of Cazorla, as being most needed there to
overthrow the enemies of our faith; and we have duly lodged the shields
and crossbows, parted from the rest, upon the champaign of Toledo;
whither should arrive more shields from Valladolid, that all together
may be carried to Cazorla."

                          [Illustration: LVII
                             SPANISH SWORDS
                       (_Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

The article from which I quote this passage adds that the palace of the
archbishop at Alcalá de Henares was fortified with cannon until the
beginning of the nineteenth century.[141]

  [141] Escudero de la Peña; _Claustros, Escalera, y Artesonados del
        Palacio Arzobispal de Alcalá de Henares_; published in the _Museo
        Español de Antigüedades_.

Cannon are mentioned with increasing frequency throughout the fifteenth
century; and in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella we read of lombards
of enormous size, which had to be dragged across the Andalusian hills
and plains by many scores of men and beasts; which frequently stuck fast
and had to be abandoned on the march; and which, even in the best of
circumstances, could only be discharged some twice or thrice a day.

In reading documents and chronicles of older Spain, it is easy to
confound the early forms of cannon with the engines similar to those
employed by the Crusaders in the Holy Land, and built for hurling stones
or arrows of large size. Such engines were the _trabuco_, the
_almajanech_ or _almojaneque_, the _algarrada_, and the _fundíbalo_ or
Catalan _fonevol_. Beuter, in his _Chronicle of Spain and of Valencia_,
describes the latter as "a certain instrument which has a sling made
fast to an extremity of wood ... made to revolve so rapidly that the
arm, on being released, projects the stone with such a force as to
inflict much harm, even in distant places, whither could reach no
missile slung by the hand of man."

Turning to portable Spanish firearms, we find that the precursor of the
arquebus, musket, and rifle seems to have been a weapon which was
introduced about the middle of the fifteenth century, and called the
_espingarda_. Alfonso de Palencia says it was employed against the
rebels of Toledo in 1467; and the Chronicle of Don Alvaro de Luna
relates that when this nobleman was standing beside Don Iñigo
d'Estúñiga, upon a certain occasion in 1453, "a man came out in his
shirt and set fire to an _espingarda_, discharging the shot thereof
above the heads of Don Alvaro and of Iñigo d'Estúñiga, but wounding an

                          [Illustration: LVIII

As time advanced, portable firearms of first-rate quality were made
throughout the northern Spanish provinces, and also in Navarra,
Cataluña, Aragon, and Andalusia. The inventory of the Dukes of
Alburquerque mentions, in 1560, "four flint arquebuses of Zaragoza
make ... another arquebus of Zaragoza, together with its fuse," and
"arquebuses of those that are made within this province" (_i.e._ of
Segovia). Cristóbal Frisleva, of Ricla in Aragon, and Micerguillo of
Seville were celebrated makers of this arm; but probably these and all
the other Spanish masters of this craft derived their skill from foreign
teaching, such as that of the brothers Simon and Peter Marckwart (in
Spanish the name is spelt _Marcuarte_,) who were brought to Spain by
Charles the Fifth.[142]

  [142] The brothers Marckwart, or possibly one or other of them, are
        believed to have stamped their arquebuses with a series of small
        sickles, thus:


The Royal Armoury contains some finely decorated guns, made for the
kings of Spain at the close of the seventeenth century and early in the
eighteenth, by Juan Belen, Juan Fernandez, Francisco Baeza y Bis, and
Nicolás Bis. The last-named, pupil of Juan Belen, was a German; but all
these gunsmiths lived and worked at Madrid. Nicolás was arquebus-maker
to Charles the Second from 1691, and afterwards held the same post from
Philip the Fifth. He died in 1726, and the Count of Valencia de Don Juan
says that in 1808--that is, before it was plundered by the mob--the
Royal Armoury contained no fewer than fifty-three weapons of his
manufacture. One of the guns which bear his mark, and still exist, is
inscribed with the words, "I belong to the Queen our lady" (Isabel
Farnese, first wife of Philip the Fifth), combined with the arms of León
and Castile, and of the Bourbon family. This weapon was used, or
intended to be used, for hunting.

Diego Esquivel, another gunsmith of Madrid, was also famous early in the
eighteenth century, as, later on, were Manuel Sutil, José Cano,
Francisco Lopez, Salvador Cenarro, Isidro Soler (author of a
_Compendious History of the Arquebus-makers of Madrid_), Juan de Soto,
and Sebastián Santos.

Swinburne wrote from Cataluña in 1775; "the gun-barrels of Barcelona are
much esteemed, and cost from four to twenty guineas, but about five is
the real value; all above is paid for fancy and ornament; they are made
out of the old shoes of mules."

                           [Illustration: LIX
                            _BRIDONA_ SADDLE
                (_15th Century. Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

Until 1793, the smaller firearms of the Spanish army were made at
Plasencia in Guipúzcoa. In that year the government factory, where
hand-labour alone continued to be used till 1855, was removed to Oviedo.
To-day this factory employs about five hundred workmen. In 1809 Laborde
wrote that "firearms, such as fusees, musquets, carbines, and pistols
are manufactured at Helgoivar, Eybor, and Plasencia; at Oviedo,
Barcelona, Igualada, and at Ripoll; the arms made at the latter city
have long had a distinguished reputation. Seven hundred and sixty-five
gunsmiths, it is estimated, find employment in the factories of

Both Townsend and the foregoing writer give a good account of Spanish
cannon at this time. According to Laborde, "two excellent founderies for
brass cannon are royal establishments at Barcelona and Seville; in the
latter city copper cannon are cast, following the method recommended by
M. Maritz. Iron ordnance are made at Lierganez and Cavada." Townsend
wrote of Barcelona, in 1786; "The foundery for brass cannon is
magnificent, and worthy of inspection. It is impossible anywhere to see
either finer metal, or work executed in a neater and more perfect
manner. Their method of boring was, in the present reign, introduced by
Maritz, a Swiss. Near two hundred twenty-four pounders are finished
every year, besides mortars and field-pieces."

                          SADDLERY AND COACHES

Probably no relic of the former of these crafts in Spain is older or
more curious than the iron bit (Plate lvii., No. 8), inlaid with silver
dragons' heads and crosses, and attributed, from cruciform monograms
which also decorate it, to the Visigothic King Witiza (who died in 711),
or sometimes to the conqueror of Toledo, Alfonso the Sixth (eleventh
century). The spurs or _acicates_ (Plate lvii., No. 9) of Ferdinand the
Third of Castile, who conquered Seville from the Moors, are also
treasured in the Royal Armoury, and bear upon an iron ground remains of
gold and silver decoration representing castles. The Count of Valencia
de Don Juan believed these spurs to be authentic, because they are
identical with the ones which Ferdinand wears in his equestrian seal,
preserved among the National Archives of France, and dating from the
year 1237.

Saddles of various kinds were used in Spain throughout the Middle Ages.
Among them were the ordinary travelling-saddle or _silla de barda_
(Arabic _al-bardá_); saddles _de palafrén_,[143] the _silla de la
guisa_, or _de la brida_ or _bridona_, for riding with long stirrups,
and consequently the antithesis of the _gineta_ saddle;[144] or saddles
made for use exclusively in war, on which the rider was accustomed to
make the sign of the cross before or after mounting, such as the
_lidona_, _gallega_ ("_siellas gallegas_" are mentioned in the _Poem of
the Cid_), and _corsera_ or _cocera_ (Arabic _al-corsi_), or else the
_silla de conteras_, "whose hindmost bow," according to the Count of
Valencia de Don Juan, "terminated in converging pieces to protect the
wearer's thighs."

  [143] An old account copied into a book (see p. 89, _note_) in the
        National Library at Madrid, and dating from the reign of Sancho
        the Fourth, states that Pedro Ferrández, saddler, received a
        certain sum for making various saddles, including two "_de
        palafrés_, wrought in silk with the devices of the king."

  [144] "In mediæval Spain, good riders were often designated as 'Ginete
        en ambas sillas,' that is, accustomed to either saddle, _i.e._
        the Moorish and the Christian, and I now understand why
        chroniclers have taken the trouble to record the fact. Strangely
        enough, the high-peaked and short-stirruped saddle does not cross
        the Nile, the Arabs of Arabia riding rather flat saddles with an
        ordinary length of leg. The Arab saddle of Morocco, in itself, is
        perhaps the worst that man has yet designed; but, curiously
        enough, from it was made the Mexican saddle, perhaps the most
        useful for all kinds of horses and of countries that the world has
        seen." Cunninghame Graham: _Mogreb-El-Acksa_, p. 66. The same
        writer naïvely adds the following footnote to the words _Ginete en
        ambas sillas_. "This phrase often occurs in Spanish chronicles,
        after along description of a man's virtues, his charity, love of
        the church, and kindness to the poor, and it is apparently
        inserted as at least as important a statement as any of the
        others. In point of fact, chronicles being written for posterity,
        it is the most important."

A saddle known as the _silla de rua_, or "street saddle," was generally
used in Spain throughout the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. It
was intended, not for war, but promenade and show, and therefore richly
decorated. The Royal Armoury has nineteen of these saddles, all of which
are Spanish-made. In the same collection is a plain _bridona_ saddle
(Plate lix.), with iron stirrups and two gilt-metal bells, such as were
commonly used in tournaments or other festivals. This saddle has been
erroneously ascribed to the thirteenth century. It dates from the
beginning of the fifteenth century, and proceeds from Majorca.

                           [Illustration: LX
                      HANGING _JAECES_ FOR HORSES]

The old belief that one of the saddles in this armoury, whose bows are
chased with a design in black and gilt of leaves and pilgrim's shells,
was once upon a time the Cid Campeador's, has been exploded recently.
The saddle in question is known to be Italian, dates from the sixteenth
century, and bears the arms of a town in the duchy of Montferrato.

The inventory (1560) of the dukes of Alburquerque mentions some curious
saddles, including one "_de la brida_, of blue velvet, with the bows
painted gold, and on the front bow a cannon with its carriage, and on
the hind bow another cannon with flames of fire." Among the rest were "a
_gineta_ saddle of red leather, used by my lord the duke," together with
saddles of bay leather, of dark brown leather, of "smooth leather with
trappings of blue cloth," of Cordova leather, and "a date-coloured
_gineta_-saddle, complete."

The same inventory specifies innumerable smaller articles of harness,
such as stirrups, spurs, reins, headstalls, and poitrals or
breast-leathers. Many of these pieces were richly ornamented; _e.g._,
"some silver headstalls of small size, enamelled in blue, with gilt
supports of iron,"[145] as well as "some silver headstalls, gilded and
enamelled green and rose, with shields upon the temples." Others of
these headstalls were made of copper, and nearly all were

  [145] As I have stated in another chapter, the precious stones and
        metals were continually employed in arms and harness, both of
        Spanish Moors and Spanish Christians. In 1062 Pedro Ruderiz
        bequeathed to the Monastery of Arlanza all his battle harness,
        together with his silver bit (_frenum argenteum_). Thousands of
        such bequests have been recorded. The Chronicle of Alfonso the
        Eleventh says that after the victory of the Rio Salado, this
        monarch found among his spoil "many swords with gold and silver
        fittings, and many spurs, all of enamelled gold and silver....
        And all this spoil was gathered by the king into his palaces
        of Seville (_i.e._ the Alcázar), the doubloons in one part, and
        the swords in another part." The testament (sometimes considered
        to be a forgery) of Pedro the Cruel mentions "my sword in the
        Castilian manner, that I caused to be made here in Seville with
        gems and with _aljofar_." In 1409 Yusuf, King of Granada,
        presented Juan the Second and the Infante Don Enrique with
        silver-fitted swords. Referring to a later age, Davillier
        discovered at Simancas a detailed list of weapons sumptuously
        decorated with gold and coloured enamels, made for Philip the
        Second by Juan de Soto, "_orfebrero de su Alteza_." _Recherches_,
        pp. 149-151.

The stirrups included "two Moorish stirrups of gilded tin, for a woman's
use";[146] "some large Moorish stirrups, gilt, with two silver plates
upon their faces, enamelled gold, green, and blue, and eight nails on
either face"; "some other Moorish stirrups, wrought inside with
_ataujía_-work in gold, and outside with plates of copper enamelled in
green, blue, and white; the handles gilt, with coverings of red
leather"; and "some silver stirrups with three bars upon the floor
thereof, round-shaped in the manner of an urinal, with open sides
consisting of two bars, a flower within a small shield on top, and, over
this, the small face of a man."

  [146] The women of mediæval Spain had few amusements besides riding.
        Another--though owing to the temperate climate it must have been
        on few occasions--was skating, since this inventory mentions
        "two pairs of skates, for a man, for travelling over ice. Two
        pairs of skates, for the same purpose, for a woman." This entry
        almost matches in its quaintness with the "irons for mustaches,"
        or the "triggers for extracting teeth," set forth in Spanish
        documents such as the _Tassa General_ of 1627.

The many sets of reins included several of Granada make, coloured in
white, red, and bay; while one of the most elaborate of the poitrals was
of "red leather, embroidered with gold thread, with fringes of
rose-coloured silk, buckles, ends, and rounded knobs; the whole of
copper enamelled green, and blue, and white."

Small but attractive accessories to these handsome sets of mediæval
Spanish harness were the decorative medals (Plate lx.) hung from the
horse's breast in tourneying or in war. In France these medals were
known as _annelets volants_, _branlants_, or _pendants_; although in
Spain, where it is probable that they were used more widely than in
other countries, they have no definite name. The term _jaeces_ is
sometimes applied to them; but _jaez_ properly means the entire harness
for a horse, and the word is thus employed by classic Spanish authors,
such as Tirso de Molina. A recent term, invented by a living writer, is
_jaeces colgantes_, or "hanging _jaeces_."

These ornaments, which had their origin among the Romans and Byzantines,
are figured in certain of the older Spanish codices such as the
_Cántigas de Santa Maria_. In Christian Spain, however, their vogue was
greatest in the thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries. They
disappeared altogether in the sixteenth century; and among the Spanish
Moors their use, though not unknown, was always quite exceptional.

The mottoes and devices on these little plates are very varied.
Sometimes the motto has an amorous, sometimes a religious import.
Sometimes the vehicle of the motto is Latin, sometimes Spanish,
sometimes French. Sometimes the device contains, or is composed of, a
blazon, and commonly there is floral or other ornament. A collection of
nearly three hundred of these medals belonged to the late Count of
Valencia de Don Juan, all of which were probably made in Spain. The
material as a rule is copper, adorned with _champlevé_ enamelling, and
the colours often used to decorate and relieve the interspaces of the
gilded metal are red, blue, black, white, and green.

                           [Illustration: LXI
                           TRAVELLING LITTER
      (_Attributed to Charles the Fifth. Royal Armoury, Madrid_)]

According to Florencio Janer, coaches were not known in Spain until the
middle of the sixteenth century. Before that time the usual conveyance
was the litter. The Madrid Armoury contains an object which is thought
to have been the campaigning-litter of Charles the Fifth (Plate lxi.).
The Count of Valencia de Don Juan also inclined to this belief from the
circumstance that an engraving exists in the British Museum which
represents a German litter of the sixteenth century, identical in all
respects with this one. Probably, however, these litters were the same
all over Europe. The inventory of the Dukes of Alburquerque includes, in
1560, a "cowhide litter, black, lined with black serge; also poles
stained black, and harness for mules." This, together with other
travelling gear, belonged to "my lady the duchess"; and it is worth
noting that the litter attributed to Charles, though cased with a
protective covering of whitish canvas, is also of black leather and
lined with black serge, besides being evidently built for carriage by
two mules. The interior contains a small armchair rising some inches
only from the floor, and which, requiring him to keep his legs
continually outstretched, could hardly fail to prove excruciatingly
uncomfortable to the traveller.

Mendez Silva says that the precise date of the introduction of coaches
into Spain was 1546, and other writers do not greatly differ from him.
The Alburquerque inventory includes "two four-wheeled coaches," as well
as "a triumphal car with four wheels, its body painted with red and gold
stripes." Vanderhamen, who says that the first coach ever seen in Spain
was brought here by a servant of Charles the Fifth in 1554, adds that
within a little time their use became "a hellish vice that wrought
incalculable havoc to Castile." Certainly this vehicle for many years
was far from popular among the Spaniards, and was assailed with special
vehemence by all who lacked the income to support one. The Duke of
Berganza is said to have remarked that "God had fashioned horses for the
use of men, and men had fashioned coaches for the use of women"; while a
priest, Tomás Ramón, declared that it was "a vast disgrace to see
bearded men, with rapiers at their side, promenading in a coach." Even
the governing powers thought fit to interfere. In 1550, 1563, and 1573
the Cortes demanded the total prohibition of these modish yet detested
vehicles, while the Cortes of 1578 decreed four horses as the statutory
and invariable number for a private carriage. A further law enacted in
1611 that coaches must be strictly private property, and not, on pain of
rigorous chastisement, be lent or hired by their owner;[147] while the
owner, to own or use a coach at all, required a special licence from the

  [147] This prohibition was not inopportune. Swinburne wrote towards the
        end of the eighteenth century; "Having occasion one day for a
        coach to carry us about, the stable-boy of our inn offered his
        services, and in a quarter of an hour brought to the door a coach
        and four fine mules, with two postillions and a lacquey, all in
        flaming liveries; we found they belonged to a countess, who, like
        the rest of the nobility, allows her coachman to let out her
        equipage when she has no occasion for it; it cost us about nine
        shillings, which no doubt was the perquisite of the servants."

Some curious facts relating to these vehicles in older Spain are
instanced by Janer. In the seventeenth century a Spanish provincial town
would normally contain a couple of hundred coaches. Among such boroughs
was Granada. Here, in 1615, the authorities, backed by nearly all the
citizens, protested that the coaches ploughed the highway into muddy
pits and channels, and gave occasion, after nightfall, to disgraceful
and immoral scenes.[148] After a while the protest grew so loud that the
use of coaches in this capital was totally suppressed. One of the first
persons to employ a coach in Granada had been the Marquis of Mondejar;
and yet, in spite of his extensive influence, this nobleman, each time
he wished to drive abroad, required to sue for licence from the town
authorities, and these, in making out the written permit, took care to
specify the streets through which he was allowed to pass.

  [148] Towns still exist in Spain where vehicles are not allowed to
        proceed at more than a walking-pace through any of the streets.
        One of such towns is Argamasilla de Alba (of _Don Quixote_ fame),
        where I remember to have read a notice to this effect, painted,
        by order of the mayor, on a house-wall of the principal

Assailed by numerous pragmatics,[149] chiefly of a sumptuary tenor and
repeated at spasmodic intervals until as late as 1785, the private coach
became at last an undisputed adjunct to the national life of Spain.
Doubtless the use by royalty of gala-coaches or _carrozas_ went far to
sanction and extend their vogue. However, I will not describe these
lumbering, uncouth, and over-ornamented gala-carriages (some of which
were made in Spain) belonging to the Spanish Crown, but quote the
following pragmatic, dated 1723, as aptly illustrative of the progress
of this industry, and other industries akin to it, in the Peninsula:--

"In order to restrain the immoderate use of coaches, state-coaches,
_estufas_, litters, _furlones_,[150] and calashes, we order that from
this time forth no one of these be decorated with gold embroidery or any
kind of silk containing gold, nor yet with bands or fringes that have
gold or silver points; but only with velvets, damasks, and other simple
silken fabrics made within this realm and its dependencies, or else in
foreign countries that have friendly commerce with us. Also, the fringes
and galloons shall be of silk alone; and none, of whatsoever dignity and
degree, shall cause his coach, state-coach, etc., to be decorated with
the fringes that are known as net-work, tassel-pointed, or bell-pointed;
but only with undecorated, simple fringes, or with those of Santa
Isabel; nor shall the breadth of either kind of these exceed four
fingers. Also, he shall not cause his coach, state-coach, etc., to be
overlaid with any gilt or silvered work, or painted with any manner of
design--meaning by such, historic scenes, marines, landscapes, flowers,
masks, knots of the pattern known as coulicoles, coats of arms, war
devices, perspectives, or any other painting, except it imitate marble,
or be marbled over of one single colour chosen at the owner's fancy; and
further, we allow in every coach, state-coach, etc., only a certain
moderate quantity of carving. And this our order and pragmatic shall
begin to rule upon the day it is made public; from which day forth no
person shall construct, or buy, or bring from other countries, coaches
or _estufas_ that infringe our law herein expressed; wherefore we order
the _alcaldes_ of this town, our court and capital, to make a register
of all such vehicles that each house contains, without excepting any.
Nevertheless, considering that if we should prohibit very shortly those
conveyances that now be lawful, the owners would be put to great
expense, we grant a period of two years wherein they may consume or rid
themselves thereof; upon the expiration of which term our law shall be
again made public, and thenceforward all, regardless of their quality
and rank, shall be compelled to pay obedience to the same. Also we
order that no person make or go abroad in hand-chairs fitted with
brocade, or cloth of gold or silver, or yet with any silk containing
gold and silver; nor shall the lining be embroidered or adorned with any
of the stuffs aforesaid; but the covering of the chair, inside and out,
shall only be of velvet, damask, or other unmixed silk, with a plain
fringe of four fingers' breadth and button-holes of the same silk, and
not of silver, gold, or thread, or any covering other than those
aforesaid; but the columns of such chairs may be adorned with silken
trimmings nailed thereto. And we allow, as in the case of coaches, a
period of two years for wearing out the hand-chairs now in use.... Also,
we order that the coverings of coaches, _estufas_, litters, calashes,
and _furlones_ shall not be made of any kind of silk, or yet the harness
of horses or mules for coaches and travelling litters; and that the said
coaches, gala-coaches, _estufas_, litters, calashes, and _furlones_
shall not be back-stitched (_pespuntados_), even if they should be of
cowhide or of cordwain (goatskin); nor shall they contain any fitting of
embroidered leather."

  [149] A royal degree of 1619 disposed that "every one who sows and tills
        twenty-five _fanegas_ of land each year, may use a coach."

  [150] The _estufa_ (literally _stove_) was a form of family-coach. The
        _furlon_ is described in an old dictionary as "a coach with four
         seats and hung with leather curtains."

                               PRINTED BY

                      NEILL AND COMPANY, LIMITED,


      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

The original spelling and minor inconsistencies in the spelling and
formatting have been maintained.

Inconsistent hyphenation and accents are as in the original if not marked
as an misprint.

The text decoration above IV DE LA FVETE has been omitted on page 222.

The table below lists all corrections applied to the original text.

  p. xii: Old Keys; Seville Cathedral    126 -> 131
  p. 11: for securing the cloak; the _torquis_ -> _torques_
  p. 12: _Fibulae_ -> _Fibulæ_
  p. 17: Amador de los Rios -> Ríos
  p. 28: Amador de los Rios -> Ríos
  p. 28: de joyaux les plus precieux -> précieux
  p. 65: is generally of the fifteeenth -> fifteenth
  p. 70: He carried, too, a -> "a
  p. 72: The goldsmiths' and the silversmiths -> silversmiths'
  p. 82: Mores ont caché leurs tresors -> trésors
  p. 90: a friar of Guadelupe -> Guadalupe
  p. 91: Juan González -> Gonzalez
  p. 93: As soon as Cristobal -> Cristóbal
  p. 94: fué deste cuento, Jan -> Juan
  p. 102: et cela luy feioit -> fetoit
  p. 105: pearls or other stones. -> stones."
  p. 123: in the _Museo Español de Antigüedades_ -> Antigüedades_)
  p. 140: Museo Español de Antiguedades -> Antigüedades
  p. 143: Museo Español de Antiguedades -> Antigüedades
  p. 176: the emir of the Mussulmans Abi-Abdillah -> Abu-Abdillah
  p. 180: D.C.C.C.C.XIII. -> D.C.C.C.C.XIII."
  p. 181: and the Puertas del Perdon -> Perdón
  p. 188: consisted of "a -> a !!!
  p. 205: among the Germans _panzerbrecher_ -> _Panzerbrecher_
  p. 206: frock (the _waffenrock_ -> _Waffenrock_
  p. 220: which specifies "a bard -> band
  p. 222: It has a _verga_ -> _verja_
  p. 229: as well as the chape -> shape
  p. 232: button and a black tassel. -> tassel."
  p. 244: published in the _Boletin -> _Boletín
  p. 262: and the burnisher. -> burnisher.
  p. 264: making good files or razors. -> making good files or razors."
  p. 273: of Segovia). Cristobal -> Cristóbal

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