I was walking around the Centro Historico of the city of Queretaro north of Mexico City today, looking for the old train station that a friend I met here recommended I visit when I stumbled upon a magical little plaza, just north of the river on Avenida Juarez.
|Detail of a column at the entrance to the Plaza incorporating cup handles in the design|
|A beautifully executed parrot using a variety of brightly colored dishes|
Having done a fair amount of tile mosaic work, I know for a fact that working with crockery and porceline has its difficulties because it is glazed on both sides, which makes it harder to adhere to the mortar thinset used to attach it to the surface you are covering. It also has curved surfaces, so in order to avoid sharp protruding edges you have to use small pieces to maintain a flat surface.
One of the patterning techniques that Don Daniel Mendoza used was to create tightly fit areas on the flatter surfaces and then to leave larger gaps on the curves at the tops of the benches. He used blue colored grout to fill in the gaps that read as blue banded borders that ties the long undulating benches and walls together. In the early 1940's the use of latex as an additive to tile setting mortar increased the strength and bonding properties making it easier to build durable mosaics. This park is now 75 years old and is in excellent condition.
At the center of the plaza is a traditional round fountain which has the least amount of ornamentation. This leads me to believe it might have been the first part of the plaza project and that inspiration for greater ornament came later with the building of the walls and benches.
The walls have oval perforations with a circle of black in between repeated around the perimeter of the plaza.
Each bench has a colorful garland under the seat and an oval medallion with an animal mosaic inside centered on the backrest, with farm animals and birds and insects often beautifully rendered using bits of colored plates.
|A yellow bird with blue wings|
|Gallo, a Rooster|
|A black spotted dog in tall grass|
|Bujo, an Owl|
|Una Abeja, a Bee|
|Mariposa, a Butterfly|
|Mono, a Monkey|
|Paloma, a Dove|
|Hormigo, an Ant|
|Not sure what this is…a lamb?|
|Ganza, a Goose|
|Caballo, a Horse, with red and black grout|
|Porceline plates with pansy flowers form a little garden by a lake|
At the far end of the plaza there is an architectural panel with a coat of arms, crowned in a rising sun with eyes and a cross flanked by two stars over a man on horseback bearing a sword, and an arbor laden with grapes. These could represent the divine heavens, victory and prosperity. The foliar garland framing the coat of arms is particularly beautiful to me, as are the sinuous flowering plants on either side.
|Coat of Arms|
|A mosaic lamp post rises above the bench with an Egret at the other end of the plaza|
|A toy vendor passing the plaza|
Around this image are mosaics of mountains, snow capped volcanos, and one striped with the colors of he Mexican flag. On the ends are wonderful portraits of a pair of white cranes and on the other a colorful parrot.
At the corners of the park are black and white silhouettes of colonial life.
|Cisne, a Swan|
There are two panels in the park at an entrance with portraits of Precolombian ceremonial headdresses, one with a jaguar and one with an eagle.
|A ceremonial portrait of a man wearing a jaguar head dress|
Other panels depict potted flowering plants alluding to a garden.
|The plaza is a popular place to visit with friends|
|Beautiful places to sit|
|A mixture of colorful bits of plates, perhaps leftovers|
This is the first publication on the internet about this park and I hope it inspires a new appreciation for it. Thanks for reading, Jeffrey