Forged Iron Roof Crosses of Chiapas
Guadalupe Hermisillo Escobar of Chiapas preserves a fading folk art tradition by continuing to hand forge a unique form of religious art; rooftop wrought-iron crosses. The crosses display a wide mix of both Christian and indigenous symbols.
Guadalupe employs techniques introduced by the Spaniards in the 1500s. He produces iron crosses that are most commonly used as decorative house blessings. The crosses were first used as a show of religious fervor and as a symbol of the Passion of Christ during Holy Week.
There is increasing pressure on the herreros, or traditional ironworkers, to forge crosses that fit the tastes of the tourist trade. Crosses can still be seen on roofs of San Cristóbal, Chiapas. House Blessing (Cruces de Casa) is still used throughout Latin America, where the protection of home, family, and animals is sought by means of roof crosses, which are installed on the ridgepole at a roof-raising.
Guadalupe also makes utilitarian items such as knives, farm implements, fittings for draft animals all made of wrought iron. He is a featured artist in the landmark book "The Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art" published by Fomento Cultural Banamex.
He has won a variety of first prices, like the prestige “Fray
Bartolomé de las Casas 2002”, the ultimate reward that
the state of Chiapas only grants to an outstanding artist.