foils

Ornamental intersections

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Be sure to look up while exploring the nooks and crannies of the Cathédrale Sainte-Marie de Bayonne.

The cut stones around windows and other openings are exquisitely decorated. Gothic-style demands a pointed arch (that sits nicely against the rib vaults that define the ceiling), but beneath that arch are circles or foils. These foils are perfectly symmetrical and contain still more overlapping circles that imitate leaves or cusps.

The entire opening, often containing stained glass, is called a tracery. It is possible that this name comes from the work of “tracing” out the design on the floor.

I scratch my head. I can hardly imagine the effort of the tracing—much less the work of shaping and stacking stone—to create this kind of visual display.

Buen Camino!


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It is not too late to sign on for our hike across Galilee (but it will be soon). This coming January we will be walking portions of the “Jesus Trail.” You are cordially invited to come along. Stops include Nazareth, Cana, Magdala, and Capernaum. Click here for more information or email me directly at markziese@gmail.com.