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founded metals, and were able to cut the hardest stone. (Humboldt, New Spuin. 1 The Aztecs appeared in 1196, and seem to have had a similar origin and language. Their works, though they attest the infancy of art, bear a striking resemblance to several monuments of the most civilised people. The rigid adherence of the people to the forms, opinions, and customs which habit had rendered familiar to them, is common to all nations under a religious and military despotism.

111. The edifices erected by the Mexicans for religious purposes were solid masses of earth of a pyramidal shape, partly faced with stone. They were called T'eocullis (Houses of God). That of ancient Mexico, 318 ft. at the base and 121 ft. in height, consisted of five stories ; and, when seen at a distance, so truncated was the pyramid that the monument appeared an enormous cube, with small altars covered by wooden cupolas on the top. The place where these cupolas terminated was elevated 177 ft. above the base of the

edifice or the pavement of the enclosure. Hence we may observe that the Teocalli was very similar in form to the ancient monument of Babylon, called the Mausoleum of Belus. The pyramids of Teotihuacan (fig. 77. ), which still remain in the Mexican Valley, have their faces within 52 minutes of a degree of the cardinal points of the compass. Their

interior is clay, mixed with small stones. This kernel is covered with a thick wall of porous amygdaloid. Traces are perceived of a bed of lime, which externally covers the stone. 112. The great pyramid of Cholula (fig. 78.), the largest and most sacred temple in

Mexico, appears, at a distance, like a natural conical hill, wooded, and crowned with a small church; on approaching it, its pyramidal form becomes distinct, as well as the four stories whereof it consists, though they are covered with vegetation. Humboldt compares

it to a square whose base is four F.g. 78.

times that of the Place Vendome at Paris covered with bricks to a height twice that of the Louvre. The height of it is 177 ft., and the length of a side of the base 1423 ft.. There is a flight of 120 steps to the platform Subjoined is a comparative statement of the Egyptian and Mexican pyramids :


Fig. 77.


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The Cholula pyramid is constructed with unburnt bricks and clay, in alternate layers. As in other Teocallis, there are cavities of considerable size, intended for sepulchres. In cutting through one side of it to form the present road from Puebla to Mexico, a square chamber was discovered, built of stones, and supported by beams of cypress wood. Two skeletons were found in it and a number of curiously painted and varnished vases. Humboldt, on an examination of the ruins, observed an arrangement of the bricks for the purpose of diminishing the pressure on the roof, by the sailing over of the bricks horizontally. The area on the top contains 3500 square yards, and was occupied by the Temple of Quetzal. coatl, the God of Air, who has yielded his place to the Virgin. By the way, we may here mention that tumuli are found in Virginia, Canada, and Peru, in which there are galleries built of stone communicating with each other by shafts; but these are not surmounted by temples.

113. In the northern part of the inter:dancy of Vera Cruz, west from the mouth of the Rio Tecolutla, two leagues distant from the great Indian village of Papantla, we meet with a pyramidal edifice of great antiquity. The pyramid of Papantla remained unknown to the first conquerors. It is seated in the middle of a thick forest, and was only discovered by some hunters about the year 1816. It is constructed of immense blocks of stone laid in mortar; but is not so remarkable for its size as for its form and the perfection of its finish, being only 80 ft. square at the base, and not quite 60 ft. high. A fight of fifty-seven

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steps leads to the truncated pyramid. Like all the Mexican te wcallis, it is composed of vegetation with which its sides are covered. The facing of the stories is ornamented stages, six whereof are still distinguishable, and a seventh appears to be concealed by the with hieroglyphics, in which serpents and crocodiles, carved in relievo, are discernible. Each story contains a great number of square niches symmetrically distributed. In the first story twenty-four are on each side ; m the second, twenty; and in the third, sixteen. The number of these niches in the body of the pyramid is 366, and there are twelve in the

114. The military intrenchment of Xochiculco, near Tetlama, two leagues south-west CHAP. II.

MEXICAN stairs towards the east. high, surrounded with ditches or trenches, and divided by the hand of man into five terraces covered with masonry. The whole has the appearance of a truncated pyramid, whereof the four faces are in the cardinal points of the compass. The masonry is of porphyry, very regularly cut, and adorned with hieroglyphics; among which are to be seen a crocodile spouting up water, and men sitting cross-legged after the Asiatic fashion. On the platform, which is very large, is a small square edifice, which was most probably a temple.

115. Though the province of Oaxaca contains no monuments of ancient Aztec architecSure, which astonish by their colossal dimensions, like the houses of the gods of Cholula, Papantla, and Teotihuacan, it possesses the ruins of edifices remarkable for their symmetry and the elegance of their ornaments. The antiquity of them is unknown. In the district of Oaxaca, south of Mexico, stands the palace of Mitla, contracted from Mignitlan, signifying, in Aztec, the place of woe. By the Tzapotec Indians the ruins are called leoba, or luira burial, or tomb), alluding to the excavations found beneath the walls. It is conjectured to have been a palace constructed over the tombs of the kings, for retirement, on the death of a relation. The tombs of Mitla are three edifices, placed symmetrically in a very romantic situation. That in the best preservation, and, at the same time, the principal one, is nearly 130 ft. long. A staircase, formed in a pit, leads to a subterranean apartment, 88 ft. in length, and 26 ft. in width. This, as well as the exterior part of the edifice, is decorated with fret, and other ornaments of similar character (fig. 79.). But the most singular

feature in these ruins, as com-
pared with other Mexican
architecture, was the discovery
of six porphyry columns, placed
for the support of a ceiling, in
the midst of a vast hall. They
are almost the only ones which
have been found in the new
continent, and exhibit strong
marks of the infancy of the
art, having neither base nor ca-
pital. The upper part slightly
diminishes. Their total height
is 19 ft., in single blocks of
porphyry. The ceiling under

which they were placed was formed by beams of Savine wood, and three of them are still in good preservation. The roof is of very large slabs. The number of separate buildings was originally five, and they were disposed with great regularity. The gate, whereof some vestiges are still discernible, led to a court 150 ft. square, which, from the rubbish and remains of subterranean apartments, it is supposed was surrounded by four oblong edifices. That on the right is tolerably preserved, the remains of two columns being still in existence. The principal building had a terrace, raised between three and four feet above the level of the court, and serving as a base to the walls it surrounds. In the wall is a niche, with pillars, four or five feet above the level of the floor. The stone lintel, over the principal door of the hall, is in a single block, 12 ft. long and 3 ft. deep. The excavation is reached by a very wide staircase, and is in the form of a cross, supported by columns. The two portions of it, which intersect each other at right angles, are each 82 ft. long by 25 ft. wide. The inner court is surrounded by three small apartments, having no communication with the fourth, which is behind the niche. The interiors of the apartments are decorated with paintings of weapons, sacrifices, and trophies. Of windows there are no traces. Humboldt was struck with the resemblance of some of the ornaments to those on the Etruscan vases of Lower Italy. In the neighbourhood of these ruins are the remains of a large pyramid, and other buildings.

116. In the intendency of Sonora, which lies north-west of the city of Mexico, and in the Gulf of California, on the banks of the Rio Gila, are some remarkable ruins, known by the name of the Casa Grande. They stand in the middle of the vestiges of an ancient Aztec city. The sides are in the direction of the four cardinal points, and are 445 # from north




Fig. 79.


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to south, and 276 ft. from east to west. The materials are unburned brick, symmetrically arranged, but unequal in size. The walls are 4 ft. in thickness. The building was of three stories. The principal edifice was surrounded by a wall with towers in it at intervals. From vestiges which appear, it is supposed the town was supplied with the water of the Rio Gila, by an artificial canal. The plain in the neighbourhood is covered with broken carthen pottery painted in white, red, and blue colours.

117. The capital of Mexico, reconstructed by the Spaniards, is undoubtedly one of the finest cities ever built by Europeans in either hemisphere. Perhaps there scarcely exists a city of the same extent which, for the uniform level of the ground on which it stands, for the regularity and breadth of the streets, and the extent of its great square, can be compared to the capital of New Spain. The religious edifices are extensive and greatly decorated, but the architecture is much debased. To the dwellings ornament is sparingly applied; coloured tiles are used. The stones are a porous amygdaloid called tetzontli

, and a porphyry of vitreous feld-spath, without any quartz; these give to the Mexican buildings an air of solidity, and sometimes even of magnificence. The wooden balconies and galleries which disfigure the European cities in both the Indies are discarded; the balustrades and gates are all of Biscay iron ornamented with bronze; and the houses, instead of roofs, have terraces, like those in Italy and other southern countries. It must, however, be admitted, notwithstanding the progress of the arts there since about 1820, that it is less from the grandeur and beauty of the edifices, than from the breadth and straightness of the streets, and their uniform regularity and extent, that Mexico commands the admiration of Europeans.

Sect. X.

ARABIAN, MORESQUE, OR SARACENIC ARCHITECTURE. 118. Before the appearance of Mahomet, in the seventh century, and the consequent establishment of Islamism, the Arabians were by no means celebrated for their skill in architecture. The beautiful country of Happy Yemen, wherein were seated the most ancient and populous of the forty-two cities of Arabia enumerated by Abulfeda, does not appear to have produced what might have been expected from the neighbours of the Egyptians, Syrians, Chaldeans, and Persians. The arts of the surrounding nations seem to have been lost upon them. Though a part of their time and industry was devoted to the management of their cattle, still they were collected into towns, and were employed in the labours of trade and agriculture. The towers of Saana, compared by Abulfeda to Damascus, and the marvellous reservoir of Merab, were constructed by the kings of the Homerites, who, after a sway of two thousand years, became extinguished in 502. The latter, the Meriaba, mentioned by Pliny as having been destroyed by the legions of Augustus, was six miles in circumference, and had not revived in the fourteenth century. “ But,” says Gibbon, “the profane lustre of these was eclipsed by the prophetic glories of Medina and Mecca.” Of the ancient architecture of Arabia there are so few examples remaining, that no satisfactory account can be given of it. Excavations, still seen in rocks, are said to be the houses of the people called Thamud ; but the Caaba of Mecca is the only one of the seven temples in which the Arabians worshipped their idols now in existence. It is a quadrangular building, about 36 ft. long, 34 ft. broad, and about 40 ft. high. It is lighted by a door on the east side, and by a window, and the roof is supported by three octangular pillars. Since its adoption by Mahomet, it has been enclosed by the caliphs with a quadrangle, round which are porticoes and apartments for the pil. grims resorting to it. Here were the tombs of the eighty descendants of Mahomet and of his wife; but, in 1803, they were destroyed by the Wahabees, who, however, respected and spared the Caaba and its enclosures.

119. The extraordinary conquests from the Indus to the Nile, under Omar, the second caliph, who, after a reign of ten years, died in a. D. 644, brought the victorious Moslems in contact with nations then much more civilised than themselves. As their empire extended, their love for the arts and sciences increased. The first mosque built out of the limits of Arabia is supposed to be that which was founded by Omar on the site of the ancient temple at Jerusalem. Under the dynasty of the Ommiades, of which race Omar was a member, the cultivation of architecture was carried on with success. The seat of the empire was reinoved to Damascus, which was considerably enlarged and improved. Among its numerous splendid buildings was the celebrated mosque founded by Alwalid II. It was he who introduced the lofty minaret, which, though an innovation at the time, seems, in later years, to have been as necessary a portion of the mosque as the main body of it. This caliph made considerable additions to the mosque at Medina, as he also did to that which had been built by Omar on the site of the Temple of Solomon, above mentioned. His generals and governors of provinces seem to have been equally zealous in the cause of art and the prophet ; witness the mosque built by one of the former on taking Samarcand, and

the works just mentioned, the removal of the seat of the empire to the western frontier of the universal improvement in the provinces under the sway of the latter. Great as were Persia, by the second caliph of the dynasty of the Abassides, gave a lustre to Arabian architecture which almost surpasses belief. Almansor, the brother and successor of Safsah, remained the imperial seat of his posterity during a period of five hundred years. The laid the foundations of Bagdad in the year 145 from the Héjira (A. D. 762), a city which

Chap. II.


the is ; capital , now dwindled to a provincial town,

that the funeral of a popular saint might be double wall was of a circular form ; " and such," says Gibbon, u was the rapid increase of attended by eight hundred thousand men and sixty thousand women of Bagdad and the adjacent villages." The magnificence displayed in the palace of the caliph

could only be exceeded by that of the Persian kings; but the pious and charitable foundation of cisternis and caravanseras along a measured road of seven hundred miles, has never been equalled.

120. About A. D. 660-5, the prudence of the victorious general Akbah had led him to the purpose of founding an Arabian colony in the heart of Africa ; and of formning a citadel that might secure, against the accidents of war, the wealth and families of the Saracens. With this view, under the modest title of a caravan station, he planted the colony of Cairoan, in the fiftieth year of the Héjira. " When," observes Gibbon, " the wild beasts and serpents were extirpated, when the forest, or rather wilderness, was cleared, the vestiges of a Roman town were discovered in a sandy plain : the vegetable food of Cairoan is brought from afar; and the scarcity of springs constrains the inhabitants to collect, in cis. terns and reservoirs, a precarious supply of rain water. These obstacles were subdued by the industry of Akbah; he traced a circumference of three thousand and six hundred paces, which he encompassed with a brick wall; in the space of five years the governor's palace was surrounded with a sufficient number of private habitations ; a spacious mosque was supported by five hundred columns of granite, porphyry, and Numidian marble.”

121. “In the West, the Ommiades of Spain,” says the same author, “ supported with equal pomp the title of Commander of the Faithful. Three miles from Cordova, in honour of his faithful Sultana, the third and greatest of the Abdalrahmans constructed the city, palace, and gardens of Zehra. Twenty-five years, and above three millions sterling, were employed by the founder : his liberal taste invited the artists of Constantinople, the most skilful sculptors and architects of the age ; and the buildings were sustained by twelve hundred columns of Spanish and African, of Greek and Italian marble. The hall of audience was incrusted with gold and pearls, and a great bason in the centre was sur. rounded with the curious and costly figures of birds and quadrupeds." The streets and houses at this place are hollowed out of the rock, which stands 1200 feet above them.

122. Whether we contemplate the materials furnished by Babylon and its neighbourbood, the dismantled towns of Syria, or the abundant ruins of Egypt, and from Tripoli to the Atlantic, it is curious, as the historian of the western Arabs has remarked, to observe that no people constructed, without recourse to the quarry, so many magnificent edifices. In Spain, this was most remarkably the case, whereof the reader will be convinced by reference to Murphy's Arabian Antiquities, and Laborde's Voyage Pittoresque de l'Espagne.

123. From the latter half of the eighth century to nearly the middle of the ninth, the progress of the Arabians in the sciences was wonderful. Their merit, however, in the art which it is our province to investigate, was of a class inferior to that of the people who invented and carried into execution, though later, the principles which regulated the stupendous monuments of Gothic architecture in Europe. They certainly understood the science of architecture; and works on it were written for the benefit of those whose occu. pations led them to take an interest in the art.

124. We regret that our limits do not permit us to dwell on the progress in the sciences made by the Arabians, though some of them are intimately connected with our subject. But the information we omit will be much more satisfactorily obtained by the reader consulting the pages of the historian of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Our purpose is now to present a concise view of the architecture of the Arabians from Laborde's Voyage Pittoresque de l'Espagne (vol. ii. part 1. xliii. et seq.); observing, by the way, that, from our own study of the subject, we are inclined fully to adopt it. In Spain there is a sufficient number of monuments of architecture to class them chronologically, and to assign an epoch to the different styles they exhibit. Though the species does not resemble that which has been denominated Gothic, which is clearly not an imitation, the one and the other sprung from the same source. The point of departure was the architecture of Byzantium, in which city, after the fall of Italy, a totally new style arose, whose development in different modes was the basis of all modern architecture. As though the Coliseum had furnished the hint, the immense edifices, in the style of the period, were constructed with a multiplicity of stories, — they were heavy without, though lightly and richly decorated within; the artists employed in their erection seeming to aim at a transference to the architecture and sculpture on which they were engaged of the oriental profusion of ornament visible in the stuffs of India. This Byzantine school produced the Lombard and

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Saxon styles in the North, on which we shall enlarge in the section on Gothic architecture, and, in the South, it produced the Arabian, Saracenic, or Moresque style, by whichever name the reader may choose to distinguish it. Both were strongly impregnated with the vices and defects into which the Roman architecture of the period had fallen. For the sake of illustrating what we mean, we refer, as examples, to the Baths of Dioclesian, to that emperor's palace at Salona, and to the buildings of Justinian and Theodosius, — from all which may be learned the abuses and incongruities which attended the fall, not only of architecture, but of all the other arts. We find in them arches springing from capitals, columns without entablatures, and even zigzag ornaments. But, with all this perversion of taste, the general form of the plans of the edifices altered not : that of the temples more particularly continued unchanged. Some great convulsion was necessary before they could undergo alteration, and such was the introduction of Christianity. Thus, says Saint Isidore, the basilica suffered transformation into the Christian church :- “ Basilicæ olim negotiis plenæ, nunc votis pro salute susceptis." of this, in a succeeding page, we shall have more to say. But the change was not confined to the basilica; the palace and domestic dwelling equally partook of the alteration of wants. The Romans, whilst masters of the world, were careless in protecting their cities by walls. Defence was only necessary on their frontiers; and there, walls and towers were constructed, from which was the first hint for the castle, of which the Roman villa, fortified, is the type. When, however, Italy was invaded, the fate of war soon caused exterior decoration to be sacrificed to internal comfort and luxury; and even Rome, under Belisarius, was surrounded by walls and towers. The people, whose prowess made these precautions necessary, soon found the convenience of adopting similar habits and buildings.

125. The Arabians, whose wandering life could scarcely be imagined capable of such a change, ultimately established themselves in Roman castles, and turned the Christian churches, which, at the period, were extremely numerous, into mosques. For some time, the architecture of the Goths, of the Arabians or Moors, was, as respects plan, the same; not less so was the character of the ornaments employed by both nations ; but it was not long before these diverged into styles which possessed each its peculiar beauties. The Christians soon used the pointed arch ; and the style they adopted became slender and tall, whilst that of the Moslems, from the nature of the climate and their peculiar habits, was deficient in elevation, though in the end it acquired a lightness and elegance which it did not at its origin possess. But it is proper, here, to impress on the mind of the reader that Gothic and Arabian architecture have nothing in common between them, except their origin from a common source. It is an error to confound them, or to suppose that the pointed arch is found in any strictly Arabian edifices. That, as far as we can ascertain, did not exist before the eleventh century. It seems to have been a development in the parts of a style which, as it passed into more northern latitudes, became more acute in the roofs, from the necessity of discharging the rain and snow with greater facility. This pointed style spread itself over some parts of India; but, there, none of the examples are older than the fourteenth or fifteenth century. Except in ornamental detail, whereof we append two specimens (figs. 80, 81.) from the Alhambra, the Arabs were not inventive. It is not

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