Glossary

Glossary:
Though extensive, I have attempted to limit the list of terms. Unless otherwise stated, the definitions are taken from the Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture, edited by Cyril M. Harris, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1977

Ajaraca

In Southern Spain, an ornament in brick wall, formed of patterns, a half brick deep, more or less complicated.

Ajimez

In Islamic architecture, a twin window having arched lights which are separated by a column or mullion.

Alfarje

In Islamic architecture, the timber framework which supports the roof; often decorated with moldings carved in geometrical patterns.

Alfíz

A rectangular molding which frames a horseshoe arch; typical in Moorish architecture.

Almohadilla

Rusticated masonry, each course of which is bowed out (definition from Judith Wilcock on-line Translators Workplace)

Ambulatory

A covered walk of a cloister.

Anastyle Baroque
Extreme development of baroque (sometimes called ultrabaroque; after 1750) in church façades and altarpieces, marked by ornamental niche pilasters or seeming absence of any support amid wealth or decoration. (definition from Collis, John, and Jones, David M. Mexico Blue Book, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1997, p. 104)

Anta

A pier or pilaster formed by a thickening at the end of a wall; its capital and base differ
from those of the columns forming part of the same order.

Apse

A semicircular (or nearly semicircular) or semipolygonal space, usually in a church, terminating an axis and intended to house an altar.

Apprentice

A minor structure built against the side of a building, with a roof of single slope.

Ara

A portable stone; or a consecrated hand stone slab (symbolically representing Christ) set permanently on the mensa of an altar. (definition from McAndrew, John. The Open-Air Churches of Sixteenth-Century Mexico: Atrios, Posas, Open Chapels and other Studies, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965)

Arabesque

Intricate overall pattern of geometric forms or stylized plants used in Mohammedan countries.

Arcading

A line of arches, raised on columns, that are represented in relief as decoration o a solid wall; sometimes seats are incorporated in the composition.

Architrave

In the classical orders, the lowest member of the entablature; the beam that spans from column to column, resting directly upon their capitals.

Archivolt

An architrave, modified by being carried around a curved opening instead of a rectangular one; an ornamental molding or band of moldings on the face of an arch
following the contour of the extrados.

Artesonado

Wood ceiling made up of interlacing strips or sections in a geometric pattern; Islamic in origin. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-
1810
, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962 p. 61)

Atlas, pl.Atlantes

A figure (or figures) of a man in place of a column to support an entablature.

Atrio

An atrium. The space in front of a church, usually enclosed or raised on a terrace with a church. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p. 62)

Augustinian

Also called Austin, in the Roman Catholic Church, member of any of the religious orders and congregations of men and women whose contributions are based on the Rule of St.
Augustine, instructions on the religious life written by Augustine, the great Western theologian, and widely disseminated after his death, AD 430. More specifically, the name is used to designate members of two main branches of Augustinians, namely, the Augustinian Canons and the Augustinian Hermits, with their female offshoots. The
Augustinian Canons, or August Canons (in full, the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine), were, in the 11th century, the first religious order of men in the Roman Catholic Church to combine clerical status with a full common life. The moral impulse emanating from the Roman synods of 1059 and 1063 and the Gregorian Reform led many canons to give up private ownership and to live together according to monastic ideals. By 1150 the adoption of the Rule of St. Augustine by these canons was almost universal. The order grew and flourished until the Protestant Reformation, during which time many of its foundations perished. {…} (definition from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, London, New Delhi, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, 2003, vol I, p. 700)

Azulejo

Tile. (definition from Spanish-English dictionary).

Baldachin

An ornamental canopy over an altar, usually supported on columns, or a similar form over a tomb or throne.

Baluster

One of a number of short vertical members, often circular in section, used to support a stair handrail or a coping.

Balustrade

An entire railing system (as along the edge of a balcony) including a top rail and its balusters, and sometimes a bottom rail.

Barrel vault

A masonry vault of plain, semicircular cross section supported by parallel walls or arcades; a vault having a semi-cylindrical roof.

Basilica

The form of the early Christian church, a central high nave with clerestory, lower aisles along the sides only, with a semicircular apse at the end. Often preceded by a vestibule, narthex and atrium. In larger basilicas, there are often transepts, and sometimes five aisles.

Bas-relief

Sculptural relief in which the projection from the surrounding surface is slight and no part of the modeled form is undercut. (definition from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, C. & G. Merriam Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1980, p. 92)

Battlement

Crenellation. A fortified parapet with alternate solid parts and openings, termed respectively merlons and embrasures or crenels.

Bell Cot

A small belfry astride the ridge of a church roof, often crowned with a small spire.

Bestiary

In a medieval church, a group of carved or painted creatures, often highly imaginative and symbolic.

Buttress

An exterior mass of masonry set at an angle to or bonded into a wall which it strengthens or supports; buttresses often absorb lateral thrusts from roof vaults.

Byzantine

The architecture of the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire which developed from Early Christian and late Roman antecedents in the 4th cent., flourished principally in Greece, but spread widely and lasted through the Middles Ages until the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (1453). It is characterized by large pendentive-supported domes, rounded arches and elaborate columns, richness in decorative elements, and color. The most famous example is the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (532-537).

Camarín

Special, small room for robing an image and storing its adornments. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p. 62)

Capilla abierta

An open chapel; the phrase is used loosely for certain structures of sixteenth century Mexican monasteries, usually adjacent to the church. The true open chapel had provisions for celebration of the Mass – a consecrated altar for the Host. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p. 62)

Capilla de indios

The generally used sixteenth century term for a capilla abierta. (definition inferred from McAndrew, John. The Open-Air Churches of Sixteenth-Century Mexico: Atrios, Posas, Open Chapels and other Studies, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965, p. 340)

Capital

The topmost member, usually decorated, of a column, pilaster, anta, etc. It may carry an architrave or an arcade or be surmounted by an impost block.

Capuchin

Member of the order of Friars Minor Capuchin (O.F.M.Cap.), an autonomous branch of the Franciscan order of religious men, begun as a reform movement in 1525 by Matteo da Bascio, who wanted to return to a literal observance of the rule of St. Francis of Assisi and to introduce elements of the solitary life of hermits. {…} (definition from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, London, New Delhi, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, 2003, vol II, p. 838)

Carmelite

Member of one of the four great Mendicant orders (those whose corporate as well as personal property made it necessary for them to beg for alms) of the Middle Ages. The origin of the order can be traced to Mt. Carmel in Palestine, where a number of devout men, apparently former pilgrims and crusaders, established themselves near the traditional foundation of Elijah, an Old Testament prophet, about 1155. Their rule was written between 1206 and 1214 by St. Albert, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, and approved in 1226 by Pope Honorius III. {…} (definition from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, London, New Delhi, Paris, Soeul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, 2003, vol II, p. 876)

Cartouche

An ornamental tablet often inscribed or decorated, and framed with elaborate scroll-like carvings.

Caryatid

A supporting member serving the function of a pier, column or pilaster and carved or molded in the form of a draped, human, female figure.

Castellated

Bearing the external fortification elements of castle, in particular, battlements, turrets, etc.

Chancel

The sanctuary of a church, including the choir; reserved for the clergy.

Chemin-de-ronde

A continuous gangway behind a rampart, providing a means of communication along a fortified wall.

Chiluca

A gray-white stone, like limestone. (definition from Early, James. The Colonial Art of Mexico, Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, 2001, p. 207)

Choir

The part of the church between the sanctuary and the nave reserved for singers and clergy.

Choir loft

A balconychoirarea.

Churrigueresque

The lavishly ornamented Spanish Baroque style of the early 18th cent., named after the architect José Churriguera; a style also adopted in South America.

Clerestory

An upper zone of wall pierced with windows that admit light to the center of a lofty room

Cloister

A covered walk surrounding a court, usually linking a church to other buildings of a monastery.

Coffering
Ceiling with deeply recessed panels, often highly ornamented.

Console

A decorative bracket in the form of a vertical scroll, projecting from a wall to support a cornice, a door or window head, a piece of sculpture, etc.

Convento

A convent. A religious community: friars, monks, or nuns (now usually nuns). A group of buildings occupied by such a community

*Note: I have used the word convento interchangeably with monastery. Whereas convent in English usually refers to the society of people occupying the community, monastery refers to the actual place.

Coping

A protective cap, top, or cover of wall, parapet, pilaster, or chimney; often of stone, terra-cotta, concrete, metal, or wood. May be flat, but commonly sloping, double-beveled, or curved to shed water so as to protect masonry below from penetration of water from above. Most effective if extended beyond wall face and cut with a drip.

Corbel

In masonry, a projection or one of a series of projections, each stepped progressively farther forward with height; anchored in a wall, story, column, or chimney; used to support an overhanging member above or, if continuous, to support overhanging courses; may support an ornament or similar appearance.

Cornice

Any molded projection which crowns or finished the part to which it is affixed.

Crenel
An open space between the merlons of a battlement.

Crenellation
A battlement.

Creole

White born in New Spain. (definition from Chevalier, François. Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda, translated by Alvin Eustis, edited, with foreword by Lesley Byrd Simpson, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970)

Cusp
The intersection of two arcs or foliations in a tracery.

Custodia

An ostensory.

Dominican

By name BLACK FRIAR, member of ORDER OF FRIARS PREACHERS, also called ORDER OF PREACHERS (O.P.), one of the four great mendicant orders of the Roman Catholic church, was founded by St. Dominic in 1215. Dominic, a priest of the Spanish diocese of Osma, accompanied his bishop on a preaching mission among the Albigensian heretics of southern France, where he found a nunnery at Prouille in 1206, partly for his converts, which was served by a community of preachers. From this developed the conception of an institute of preachers to convert the Albigensians, which received provisional approval from Pope Innocent III in 1215. Dominic gave his followers a rule of life based on that of St. Augustine and made his first settlement at Toulouse; on Dec. 22, 1216, Pople Honorius III gave formal sanction. {…} (definition from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, London, New Delhi, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, 2003, vol. IV, p. 166)

Duomo

The term for an Italian cathedral.

Embrasure
The crenels or intervals between the merlons of a battlement.

Encomendero

Proprietor of an encomienda. (definition from Chevalier, François. Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda, translated by Alvin Eustis, edited, with foreword by Lesley Byrd Simpson, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970, p.322)

Encomienda

A kind of trust, whereby the crown granted to a conquistador the right to the tributes of a native community, in exchange for benefits, such as the support of a priest, indoctrination, and so on. (definition from Chevalier, François. Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda, translated by Alvin Eustis, edited, with foreword by Lesley Byrd Simpson, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970, p.322)

Entablature

In classical architecture, the elaborated beam member carried by the columns, horizontally divided into architrave (below), frieze, and cornice (above). The proportions and detailing are different for each order and strictly prescribed.

Entrecalle

Space between columns or estípites. (definition from Collis, John, and Jones, David M. Mexico Blue Book, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1997, p. 107)

Escutcheon

A shield on which armorial bearings are depicted; may be of any form, but the usual shape is that of a square or lozenge.

Espadaña

A small belfry; that is a section of a wall usually placed over a façade, which arched openings for holding bells. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p. 64)

Estancia

Grant of land for running sheep or cattle. (definition from Chevalier, François. Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda, translated by Alvin Eustis, edited, with foreword by Lesley Byrd Simpson, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970)

Estípite

In Spanish and Latin-American Mannerist architecture and derivatives, a shaft of square cross section, tapering downward, frequently combined with other unusual elements, the whole used like an order.

Estofado

Figural and ornamental sculptural technique, involving the coating of carved wood with layers of fine gesso (q.v.) as a foundation for gilding and polychromy. A special variant, relating to the faces and hands of figures, is called encarnación. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p. 64)

Eucharist

Communion. (definition from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, C. & G. Merriam Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1980, p. 390)

Extrados

The exterior curve or boundary of the visible face of the arch.

Façade

The exterior face of a building which is the architectural front, sometimes distinguished from the other faces by elaboration of architectural or ornamental details.

Finial
An ornament which terminates the point of a spire, pinnacle, etc.

Foil

In tracery, any of several lobes, circular or nearly so, tangent to the inner side of a larger arc, as of an arch, and meeting each other in points, called cusps, projecting inward from the arch, or circle.

Foliation

The cusps or foils, as on tracery.

Fluting

Vertical channeling (usually concave) or a columnar or pilaster shaft. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p.64)

Franciscan

Any member of a Christian religious order founded in the early 13th century by St. Francis of Assisi (q.v.). The members of the order strive to cultivate the ideals of the order’s founder. {…} It was probably in 1207 that Francis felt the call to a life of preaching, penance, and total poverty. He was soon joined by his first followers, to whom he gave a short and simple rule of life. In 1209 he and 11 of his followers journeyed to Rome, where Francis received approval of his rule from Pope Innocent III. Under this rule, Franciscan friars could own no possessions of any kind, either individually or communally (i.e., as the property of the order as a whole). The friars wandered and preached among the people, helping the poor and the sick. They supported themselves by working and by begging food, but they were forbidden to accept money either as payment for work or as alms. The Franciscans worked at first in Umbria and then in the rest of Italy and abroad. {…} (definition from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, London, New Delhi, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, 2003, vol IV, p. 930)

Fresco

A mural painted into fresh lime plaster; in such work water-based colors unite with the base; retouching is done a secco (dry).

Frieze
The middle horizontal member of a classical entablature.

Gable

The vertical triangular portion of the end of a building having a double-sloping roof, from the level of the cornice or eaves to the ridge of the roof.

Glyph

A sculpted pictograph.

Hacienda

In New Spain, a large rural estate (definition from Chevalier, François. Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda, translated by Alvin Eustis, edited, with foreword by Lesley Byrd Simpson, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970)

Helicoid

Forming or arranged in a spiral. (definition from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, C. & G. Merriam Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1980, p. 527)

Herm

A rectangular post, usually of stone and tapering downward, surmounted by a bust of Hermes or other divinity, or by a human head.

Iglesia-fortaleza
A church-fortress. (definition from personal translation)

Impost

A masonry unit or course, often distinctively profiled, which receives and distributes the thrust at each end of an arch.

Interestípite

Space (often highly ornamented) between estípites. (definition from Collis, John, and Jones, David M. Mexico Blue Book, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1997

Intrados

The inner curve or face of an arch or vault forming the concave underside.

Jamb

A vertical member at each side of a doorframe, window frame, or door lining.

Jesuit

Member of SOCIETY OF JESUS (S.J.), a Roman Catholic order of religious men, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, noted for its educational, missionary, and charitable works, once regarded by many as the principal agent of the Counter-Reformation and later a leading force in modernizing the church. The Jesuits have always been a controversial group regarded by some as a society to be feared and condemned and by others as the most laudable and esteemed religious order in the Catholic Church. {…} (definition from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, London, New Delhi, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, 2003, vol VI, p. 541)

Keystone

In masonry, the central, often embellished, voussoirof an arch. Until the keystone is in place, no true arch action is incurred.

Lambrequin

Originally a scalloped or cut-out cloth ornament, used often in strip form under a canopy or a baldachin. Since many of the pendent motifs, especially in wood or stone, of the estípite era were derived from such cloth (or paper) sources, the term is used by some writers to mean that motif, although in its original use it implied a row of such motifs. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p. 65)

Lantern

A windowed superstructure crossing a roof or dome.

Lintel

A horizontal structure member (such as a beam) over an opening which carries the weight of the wall above it; often of stone or wood.

Lozenge

A rhomb, or more rarely, a rhomboid; usually one of a series.

Lunette

A crescent shape or semicircular area on a wall or vaulted ceiling, framed by an arch or vault.

Mensa

The flat stone slab constituting the top of the altar, generally marked with the five crosses of its consecration; also, a similar but smaller stone set into the top of an altar temporarily or permanently. (definition from McAndrew, John. The Open-Air Churches of Sixteenth-Century Mexico: Atrios, Posas, Open Chapels and other Studies, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965, p. 659)

Mercedarian

Also called NOLASCAN, member of ORDER OF OUR LADY OF MERCY, also called KNIGHTS OF SAINT EULALIA, religious order founded by St. Peter Nolasco in Spain in 1218, for the purpose of ransoming Christian captives from the Moors. It was originally a military order. St. Raymond of Penafort, Nolasco’s confessor and the author of the order’s rule, based the rule on that of St. Augustine. In addition to the usually three religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Mercedarians took a fourth vow, to offer themselves as hostages for Christian prisoners in danger of losing their faith. {…} (definition from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, London, New Delhi, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, 2003, vol. VIII, p. 27)

Merlon

In an embattled parapet, one of the solid alternates between the embrasures.

Mestizo

Offspring of Spanish and Indian parents. (definition from Chevalier, François. Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda, translated by Alvin Eustis, edited, with foreword by Lesley Byrd Simpson, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970)

Mixtilinear arch
In Moorish and Spanish architecture, an arch composed of various geometric shapes

Monastery
A building complex of a monastic order.

Monstrance

An ostensory.

Mudéjar style

A Spanish style created by Moors under Christian domination in the 13th and 14th cent., but retaining Islamic elements such as the horseshoe arch.

Mullion

A vertical member separating (and often supporting) window, doors, or panels set in series.

Multifoil

Having more than five foils, lobes, or arcuate divisions.

Náhuatl

The common language of the Aztecs and some of their neighbors, the widespread official language used even in non-Aztec parts of the Aztec “Empire”. (definition from McAndrew, John. The Open-Air Churches of Sixteenth-Century Mexico: Atrios, Posas, Open Chapels and other Studies, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965)

Narthex

An enclosed porch or vestibule at the entrance to some early Christian churches.

Nave

The middle aisle of a church.

Neostyle Baroque

Soberer Baroque with classical elements, of late 18th century. (definition from Collis, John, and Jones, David M. Mexico Blue Book, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1997, p. 107)

Oculus

A circular panel or window.

Ogee (ogival)

A double curve, formed by the union of a convex and concave line, resembling an S-shape.

Open-air chapel
(see capilla abierta)

Oratorian

Member of either of two separate but similar congregations of secular priests, one centered in Rome and the other in France. The Institute of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri was founded by the saint in Rome in 1575, approved in 1612, and confederated and reapproved in 1942. It consists of independent communities of secular priests held under obedience but not bound by vows, and it is dedicated to prayer, preaching, and the sacraments. {…} The Congregation of of the Oratory of Jesus and Mary Immaculate – popularly called the Bérullians as well as the Oratorians – derives and takes some of its rules from the organization of St. Philip, but it is a distinct institution, founded by Pierre de Bérulle in 1611 and approved in 1613 {…} (definition from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, London, New Delhi, Paris, Seoul21, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, 2003, vol. VIII, p. 980)

Ostensory

A device in which the Eucharist wafer may be displayed.

Parapet

A low guarding wall at any point of sudden drop, as at the edge of a terrace, roof, battlement, balcony, etc.

Pediment

In classical architecture, the triangular gable end of the roof above the horizontal cornice, often filled with sculpture.

Pendentive

One of a set of curved wall surfaces which form a transition between a dome (or its drum) and the supporting masonry.

Pictograph

An ancient of prehistoric drawing or painting on a rock wall. (definition from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, C. & G. Merriam Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1980, p. 861)

Pier

A column designed to support a concentrated load.

Pilaster

An engaged pier or pillar, often with capital and base.

Pillar

A pier.

Plateresque

“Silversmith-like”; the richly decorative style of the Spanish Renaissance in the 16th cent. Its early phase is also referred to as Isabelline architecture, after Queen Isabella I (1474-1504)

Polychromy

The practice of decorating architectural elements, sculpture, etc. in a variety of colors.

Porciuncula

A rural chapel on the plain below Assisi, Italy, called also St. Mary of the Angels, favorite church and headquarters of St. Francis of Assisi. {…} It was probably built in the 10th or 11th century; its site is first mentioned in a document of 1045, and the chapel itself about 1150. The chapel was originally known as St. Mary of the Angles because of local reports of angelic visitations, but it was called St. Mary of the Portiuncula in the mid-13th century; later both names were used. Its proper ecclesiastical titled is uncertain: it may be the Assumption, or it may be the Annunciation (as is suggested by the polyptych behind the altar painted in 1393). The church belonged to the Abbey of San Benedetto on Mount Subasio, but it was abandoned late in the 12th century, until the young Francis repaired it in 1207. There he received his vocation and founded his first order (1208), acquiring the Portiuncula from the Benedictines (1210) and having it consecrated (1215?). (definition from New Catholic Encyclopedia, Second Edition, Thomson Gale in association with The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., 2003, Volume 11, p. 527)

Portal

An impressive or monumental entrance, gate, or door to a building or courtyard, often decorated.

Portería

The entrance to a monastery – usually an arcaded porch or narthex at one side of the church façade. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p.67)

Posa chapel

A processional oratory (rarely or never a chapel) at each of the corners of some sixteenth-century Mexican monastic atrio. (definition from: Baird, Joseph Armstrong. The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1962, p.67)

Presbytery

The actual sanctuary of a church beyond the choir and occupied only by the officiating clergy.

Predella

The bottom tier of an altarpiece, between the principal panel or bas-relief and the altar itself.

Proscenium

In the ancient theatre, the stage before the scene or back wall.

Quatrefoil

A four-lobed pattern divided by cusps.

Ramada

An open porch.

Refectory

A hall in a convent, monastery, or public secular institution where meals are eaten.

Repartamiento

A weekly allotment of Indian labor. (definition from Chevalier, François. Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda, translated by Alvin Eustis, edited, with foreword by Lesley Byrd Simpson, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970, p. 323)

Retablo (retable)
A decorative screen set up above and behind an altar, generally forming an architectural frame to a picture, bas-relief, or mosaic.

Ribbed vault

A vault in which the ribs support, or seem to support, the web of the vault.

Rinceaux

In classical architecture and derivatives, an ornamental band of undulant and recurring plant motifs.

Rocaille

A scroll ornament of the 18th cent., esp. during the reign of Louis XV, combining forms apparently based on those of water-worn rocks, plants, and shells; characteristics of the Rococo period.

Rose window

A large, circular medieval window, containing tracery disposed in a radial manner.

Rosette

A round pattern with a carved or painted conventionalized floral motif.

Rusticated

Said of cut stone having strongly emphasized recessed joints and smooth or roughly textured block faces; used to create an appearance of impregnability in banks, palaces, courthouses, etc.

Salomónica (Solomonic Column)

A twisted or spiral column.

Scallop

One or a continuous series of curves resembling segments of a circle, used as a decorative element on the outer edge or a strip of wood, molding, etc.

Sgraffito

A type of decoration executed by covering a surface, as of plaster or enamel, of one color, with a thin coat of a similar material of another color, and then scratching or scoring through the outer coat to show the color beneath.

Society of Jesus

see Jesuit

Soffit

The exposed undersurface of any overhead component of a building, such as an arch, balcony, beam, cornice, lintel or vault.

Sotocoro

Space in church beneath choir. (definition from Collis, John, and Jones, David M. Mexico Blue Book, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1997, p. 109)

Spandrel

An area, roughly triangular in shape, included between the extradoses of two adjoining arches and a line approximately connecting their crowns (or a space approximately equal to half this in the case of a single arch); in medieval architecture, often ornamented with tracery, etc.

Splay

A sloped surface, or a surface which makes an oblique angle with another, especially at the sides of a door, window, proscenium, etc., so the opening is larger on one side than the other.

Stoa

A portico usually detached, often of considerable extent, providing a sheltered promenade or meeting place.

Stoop

A basin for holy water, sometimes free-standing but more often affixed to or carved out of a wall or pillar near the entrance of a church.

Strapwork

A type of ornament consisting of a narrow fillet or band which is folded, crossed, and interlaced.

Stucco

A material usually made of portland cement, sand, and a small percentage of lime and applied in a plastic state to form a hard covering for exterior walls. (definition from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, C. & G. Merriam Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1980, p.1147)

Telemon, pl. Telemones

Altas

Tequítqui

Combining pre-Conquest Indian and clearly Conquest Hispanic art forms.

Tezontle

A reddish, or brownish, or purplish building stone of volcanic origin. (definition from Early, James. The Colonial Art of Mexico, Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, 2001, p. 208)

Trefoil

A three-lobed, cloverleaf pattern.

Turret

A diminutive tower, characteristically corbeled from a corner.

Tuscan

Of or relating to one of the five classical orders of architecture that is of Roman origin and plain in style. (definition from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, C. & G. Merriam Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1980, p. 1253)

Tympanum

The triangular or segmental space enclosed by a pediment or arch.

Tracery

The curvilinear openwork shapes of stone or wood creating a pattern within the upper part of a Gothic window, or an opening of similar character, in the form of mullions which are usually so treated as to be ornamental. By extension, similar patterns applied to walls or panels.

Transept

The transverse portion of a church crossing the main axis at a right angle and producing a cruciform plan.

Vault

A masonry covering over an area which uses the principal of the arch.

Vestibule
An anteroom or small foyer leading into a larger space.

Visita

A town in the jurisdiction of a monastery where friars did not live but which they visited periodically to say mass. (definition from McAndrew, John. The Open-Air Churches of Sixteenth-Century Mexico: Atrios, Posas, Open Chapels and other Studies, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965)

Volute

A spiral scroll.

Voussoir

A wedge-shaped masonry unit in an arch or vault whose converging sides are cut as radii of one of the centers of the arch or vault.

Xacal (Jacal)

A thatched hut, commonly with adobe walls. (definition from McAndrew, John. The Open-Air Churches of Sixteenth-Century Mexico: Atrios, Posas, Open Chapels and other Studies, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965)

Zócalo

Town square. (definition from Spanish-English dictionary).