Multi-coloured Moorish ceilings in La Palma

Cover of the book
Multi-coloured Moorish ceilings in La Palma

There’s a new book out about La Palma’s art history, specifically the gorgeous multi-coloured ceilings. It’s only available in Spanish, but you can still enjoy the 28 colour photos and numerous black and white photos and drawings. The photos here are copied from the book which you can buy it from bookshops in Santa Cruz and Los Llanos. It costs 15€.

When Felipe II forced the Muslims to leave Spain that didn’t include the Canary islands, so they got an influx of skilled craftsmen. If you know where to look, you can still see the influence of these 15th century asylum seekers.

As a result, many of the old buildings here have Moorish ceilings. The technical word is mudéjar. The easiest ones to see are churches. Back when Santa Cruz de la Palma was the third biggest port in the Spanish empire, a lot of the wealth went into the churches.

Ceiling in the church of Our Lady of Remedies, Los LLanos

The wood used is invariably tea, heartwood from a Canary pine tree. Like English oak, the stuff lasts forever.
There’s a new book about these ceilings.

Many of these ceilings are varnished, but some are beautifully painted, often in bright colours and geometric shapes. Frequently the painting was done by a woman, but back then a woman couldn’t sign a contract herself; her husband signed. So regardless of who did the work, the historical record shows only Men. (Grrrr!)

One house uses lines of blue and white tiles from Delft as part of the design. The Netherlands were part of the Spanish empire until 1581, and this ceiling is from the early 18th century.

The ceiling in Casa They (a private house beside the Sputnik bar)

This article has 3 Comments

  1. If you stand in front of the Moorish house you posted in street view, swing around 170 degrees to your right. The tall ornate building is the once Masonic Lodge. My employer of 21 years now, Ball State, now operates the structure. It has been renamed Cornerstone Center for the Arts. I once lived in a four unit building one block over from the Moorish house, back to the east about 6 blocks. I never had any problems, but my younger brothers car was stolen right out of our parking lot, never to be seen again. It was a 1987 Buick Grand National my Dad bought new when he was an engineer with General Motors. I”m very familiar with the Kimbrough district as well as the old west end. I don”t foresee personally living in either area again, I”m much happier in the small town a little to the NW, but still a lifelong Delaware County resident. I own 3 houses with my wife here. Another town in the same County with several Victorians is Eaton. In this area, you will likely find what you”re looking for there, without the four lane one way streets, & more of a small town feel. There are several Queens with towers and turrets in Eaton, none in Gaston still standing, only some turn of century larger structures and few really nice ones. 0

  2. I think you have the wrong place. This blog is about the island of La Palma in the Canary islands, off the west coast of Africa.

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