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What is the meaning (if any) of this bas-relief?

Bert45

Active Member
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The attached photo was taken in La Laguna (between La Faba and O Cebreiro). It looks a bit like a boat or an anchor, with a face either side of the mast or shank. It is on the jamb of a barn door to the left of the path. Do you know what it means? Perhaps you saw a mention of it in a guide to the camino.
 

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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
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(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
It seems like a boat carrying a head... Santiago...
 

Richard Ray

Not What He Once Was
Camino(s) past & future
September-October (2016), May-June (2019)
The attached photo was taken in La Laguna (between La Faba and O Cebreiro). It looks a bit like a boat or an anchor, with a face either side of the mast or shank. It is on the jamb of a barn door to the left of the path. Do you know what it means? Perhaps you saw a mention of it in a guide to the camino.
The symbol of a boat with a cross and disciples is an ancient image depicting "oneness" with Christ, and today is a symbol of ecumenical fraternity. See the image from Japanese Christian artist Sadao Watanabe below.
 

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Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
The symbol of a boat with a cross and disciples is an ancient image depicting "oneness" with Christ, and today is a symbol of ecumenical fraternity.
This is interesting, thank you. I had not been aware of the fact that a ship or boat with the cross as the mast and the disciples in it is an ancient Christian symbol for the church, ie the community of the faithful or even a space of rescue and salvation. It seems a likely explanation. There is definitely no dead body in this boat. I wonder whether this stone had been repurposed, ie had been taken from another building that was a ruin.
 

Bisnieta

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2021)
As others have already mentioned, both the anchor & the boat with its cruciform mast were central to Christian iconography in the earliest days of the faith. Even Christian churches were based on ship's architecture (ergo, the "nave"). The roofs were modeled on upturned hulls. And wherever Christians were persecuted, the boat & anchor symbols surreptitiously proclaimed belief in Christ - the Roman catacombs, for example, are filled with them - & I tend to think as Katharina does that they aren't necessarily related to Santiago at all.

I wonder if the two faces of the OP's bas relief & the ones Kathar1na found are stylized depictions of Sts. Simon/Peter & Andrew when Jesus entreated them to become "fishers of men"? The barque of St. Peter is an enduring symbol of the Roman Catholic church everywhere, not just Spain.
 

caminka

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the nicely cut stone would suggest that the symbol has been cut into the stone when this has already been shaped and smoothed. thus making it less likely that it's a spolia remade from from a tombstone, for example.

given the early christian connection, it could come from an early chapel or church or monastery, though from the top of my head I cannot think of a monastery that early in these parts. it could also indicate a space where believers of the (new) belief met and had rites.
 
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caminka

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for the reference, the symbol is on a barn on the left after CF passes the albergue. the building has some beautifuly cut stone for frameworks. the symbol is very well seen which might suggest that it's there to get the attention of a passing person?

to the right of the doorway with the symbol is a small window with finely groomed edges and on top finished with a half-circle, unusual for a mere barn. perhaps a niche for a statue?
 

Pelegrin

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SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
I didn't notice it myself but you are right, it is clearly visible when you walk on the path through the village towards O Cebreiro.

View attachment 81504
I would say that what is now a barn was a house ( for people) in the past and was built probably in the 19th century or before because doesn't have chimney.
And I say that because If it was initially a barn wouldn't have the 2 windows on the first floor.
 

Pelegrin

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I would say that what is now a barn was a house ( for people) in the past and was built probably in the 19th century or before because doesn't have chimney.
And I say that because If it was initially a barn wouldn't have the 2 windows on the first floor.
About the houses without chimney in Galicia, President John Adams stayed in one of them on his trip to France in 1780. He complained about the smoke in the kitchen.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I would say that what is now a barn was a house ( for people) in the past and was built probably in the 19th century or before because doesn't have chimney. And I say that because If it was initially a barn wouldn't have the 2 windows on the first floor.
This turns out to be quite fascinating ... here is another Street View image of the building. There is apparently a third door (street front). Did people live on the first floor, with animals on the ground floor, and crops and supplies stored on the ground floor and under the roof? I think I can make out a pulley in or near the opening just beneath the roof. What do you make of the window/opening on the right on the ground floor?

Also, there is something hanging on the wall next to the symbol. I wonder what it is.

House:Barn.jpg
 
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Pelegrin

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This turns out to be quite fascinating ... here is another Street View image of the building. There is apparently a third door (street front). Did people live on the first floor, with animals on the ground floor, and crops and supplies stored on the ground floor and under the roof? I think I can make out a pulley in or near the opening just beneath the roof. What do you make of the window/opening on the right on the ground floor?

Also, there is something hanging on the wall next to the symbol. I wonder what it is.

View attachment 81512
I think on the ground floor were the kitchen on the left (green window) and the animals right (small window). Upstairs the beds not divided in rooms. No toilet.
The third door could be the entrance for the animals.
They had another building to store hay and crops or also an horreo.
The style of the house is full Galician, but they built the "new" one on the left in the half part of last century with some Berciano style (see green balcony) and left the other as a barn.
 

caminka

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I would say that what is now a barn was a house ( for people) in the past and was built probably in the 19th century or before because doesn't have chimney.
And I say that because If it was initially a barn wouldn't have the 2 windows on the first floor.
you must be right, I didn't think of that. that makes it more likely to be an inn or a hospice. how does 'The Boat of the Apostle' sound?
 

caminka

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About the houses without chimney in Galicia, President John Adams stayed in one of them on his trip to France in 1780. He complained about the smoke in the kitchen.
I think that was pretty much the case for all houses of lower classes in europe, especially in the countryside. in slovenia, people were living in such houses right up into the 1970s! and didn't davey write about an actual one-room romanesque house with a hearth in the middle of the room, in aubrac on via podiensis, where he stayed the night with the owner?
 
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caminka

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There is apparently a third door (street front).
I think the third door facing the street is/was the door where the carts/wagons could pull in. that's why it's on the street side.

I think I can make out a pulley in or near the opening just beneath the roof.
it does indeed look like a pulley of some sort. downloading/uploading/reloading of cargo, like chests or barrels?

What do you make of the window/opening on the right on the ground floor?
to me, it looks like a niche for a statue of the house's patron, say.

Also, there is something hanging on the wall next to the symbol. I wonder what it is.
that device made from straps to put on a cow's head to lead it around? though it looks more like a long leather strap with a short chain at one end. for a dog?
 
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Bert45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
This turns out to be quite fascinating ... here is another Street View image of the building. There is apparently a third door (street front). Did people live on the first floor, with animals on the ground floor, and crops and supplies stored on the ground floor and under the roof? I think I can make out a pulley in or near the opening just beneath the roof. What do you make of the window/opening on the right on the ground floor?

Also, there is something hanging on the wall next to the symbol. I wonder what it is.

View attachment 81512
In 2014 it looks as though there was a thin short chain hanging on the piece of metal (you can't call it a hook) sticking out of the wall next to the carving. In 2012 it looks as though it's a bunch of grass. this is proving very interesting! I'm learning a lot about Galician architecture. The next person from this thread who walks that way must ask to go in and have a look around!
 

caminka

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interesting are also vertical lines (five or six of them) going up from a horizontal line that seems to be dividing the ground floor and the upper floor. they are too widely spaced to be walled-in windows (and not at all in the style of window-making in galicia) and it also wouldn't make sense to have two extra big doors on the first floor of the façade. cement-covered wooden beams also don't go with the local building style.
 
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Bert45

Active Member
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(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
"I think I can make out a pulley in or near the opening just beneath the roof." -- do you mean on the side facing the yard or the side facing the street? I can't see anything on the yard side, and I can't see a pulley on the street side. I can see a bracket sticking out from the small window just below the roof on the street side. The window has three (or four) metal bars in front of a wooden board. If there ever was a pulley on the bracket, it would not be much use for raising heavy goods up to the window as the window is too small to admit any sizeable object, even before the bars were in place. On the other hand, I can't imagine what the bracket is for, otherwise.
 

Bert45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
interesting are also vertical lines (five or six of them) going up from a horizontal line that seems to be dividing the ground floor and the upper floor. they are too widely spaced to be walled-in windows (and not at all in the style of window-making in galicia) and it also wouldn't make sense to have two extra big doors on the first floor of the façade. cement-covered wooden beams also don't go with the local building style.
You mean the vertical blocks? I can only see four (one to the right of the window on the left, one to the right of the large door and one either side of the window on the right). They look as though they must be concrete to me. They run up from a line of similar horizontal material, but that line crosses the large door about a foot below the top of the door, so I can't see how it can be the line between the ground floor and the upper floor.
 

caminka

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You mean the vertical blocks? I can only see four (one to the right of the window on the left, one to the right of the large door and one either side of the window on the right). They look as though they must be concrete to me. They run up from a line of similar horizontal material, but that line crosses the large door about a foot below the top of the door, so I can't see how it can be the line between the ground floor and the upper floor.
yup. there are three to the right of the door and two on the left, with the one just to the left of the door being a ghost of the line. there could be another one in the corner with the perpendicular building and obscured by the drain pipe.
I know, that's why they are puzzling. but looking at your photo I noticed that two lines to the right of the door are missing the top. it looks like they may have been painted on the stone wall. so maybe decoration? I can't decide if the horizontal line could actually run under the door, that is to say, is earlier then the door.
I was also thinking a residue of a wooden veranda.
 

caminka

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"I think I can make out a pulley in or near the opening just beneath the roof." -- do you mean on the side facing the yard or the side facing the street? I can't see anything on the yard side, and I can't see a pulley on the street side. I can see a bracket sticking out from the small window just below the roof on the street side. The window has three (or four) metal bars in front of a wooden board. If there ever was a pulley on the bracket, it would not be much use for raising heavy goods up to the window as the window is too small to admit any sizeable object, even before the bars were in place. On the other hand, I can't imagine what the bracket is for, otherwise.
I think @Kathar1na meant the side facing the street. the triangular wooden thing protruding from the small window under the roof. from either side on google maps it looks like it has something shiny attached to it, but it turns out to only be a sunlight reflection. from below it's just two wooden boards stuck at an angle. really weird.
it wouldn't need to be for lifting things up to the small window, just unloading or uploading heavy cargo up to a cart or a packhorse.
 

Bert45

Active Member
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(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
"I can't decide if the horizontal line could actually run under the door, that is to say, is earlier then the door. " -- I cannot believe that the huge doorway could be later than the original building. Just look at the size of that lintel and the stones of the jambs. It's a puzzle, certainly. I've just noticed two crosses incised in the stones either side of the window on the left on my photo (below). I think that the vertical line just to the left of the central doorway is almost an optical illusion. When you look closely at it, there is nothing there (also visible in attached photo)4-Camino 2014 1289.JPG.
 

Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I've just noticed two crosses incised in the stones either side of the window on the left on my photo
OK, that's it ... ☺. Can someone please go and knock on this door and ask? Doesn't Laurie Dennett (Canadian author and Camino person) live just round the corner? Does someone know her personally and can enquire politely?
 

mspath

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Since thiis structure is located a few meters from the popular Bar Albergue La Escuela in
La Laguna de castilla why not téléphone or sms the Albergue for further historic info re the structure and area? Years past old photos were visible in the bar.

tele.+ 34987684786
Bar Albergue La Escuela
Calle Camino de Santiago, 10,
24526 La Laguna de castilla, León, Spain
 

Pelegrin

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Since thiis structure is located a few meters from the popular Bar Albergue La Escuela in
La Laguna de castilla why not téléphone or sms the Albergue for further historic info re the structure and area? Years past old photos were visible in the bar.

tele.+ 34987684786
Bar Albergue La Escuela
Calle Camino de Santiago, 10,
24526 La Laguna de castilla, León, Spain
I called Albergue La Escuela and spoke with a very friendly woman. According to her the current stable was in the past a house (for people) with stable in the ground floor like every other stable in the villages around. That explains the 2 windows upstairs. The kitchen in that mountain area was not always in the grown floor like in my area of Galicia which is flatter.
According to her the symbol at the door is the mark of the canteiro (stonemason).
My conversation with her was in Galician. I am very happy to realize that despite being still in León they speak a very good Galician in its eastern variant (mine is centraL).
From Villafranca the Galician language is spoken in all the villages.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Mystery solved.
Thank you, @Pelegrin !

From Villafranca the Galician language is spoken in all the villages.
La Laguna is barely in Leon, so I am not surprised.

Edit...corrected to '@' the right person. Sorry for the mistake Pelegrin. :oops: And to the person who pointed it out...gracias.
 
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Bert45

Active Member
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(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
I called Albergue La Escuela and spoke with a very friendly woman. According to her the current stable was in the past a house (for people) with stable in the ground floor like every other stable in the villages around. That explains the 2 windows upstairs. The kitchen in that mountain area was not always in the grown floor like in my area of Galicia which is flatter.
According to her the symbol at the door is the mark of the canteiro (stonemason).
Thank you so much, Pelegrin! I hesitate to ask you, but could you ask her, is the large door original, or was it made when the house was converted to a stable? And what was the bracket by the small window on the street for? I would ask her myself, but I don't speak Galego (or Spanish).
 

mspath

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I called Albergue La Escuela and spoke with a very friendly woman. According to her the current stable was in the past a house (for people) with stable in the ground floor like every other stable in the villages around. That explains the 2 windows upstairs. The kitchen in that mountain area was not always in the grown floor like in my area of Galicia which is flatter.
According to her the symbol at the door is the mark of the canteiro (stonemason).
My conversation with her was in Galician. I am very happy to realize that despite being still in León they speak a very good Galician in its eastern variant (mine is centraL).
From Villafranca the Galician language is spoken in all the villages.
Thank you Pelegrin for calling the albergue, and of course, for knowing/speaking Galician.
The recent development of this thread is another fine example of the importance of sharing info/help on the Camino as well as here on the Forum.
May it continue to be so.
 
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Pelegrin

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Mystery solved.
Thank you, @pelerine !

La Laguna is barely in Leon, so I am not surprised.
Mystery solved.
Thank you, @Pelegrin !

La Laguna is barely in Leon, so I am not surprised.

Edit...corrected to '@' the right person. Sorry for the mistake Pelegrin. :oops: And to the person who pointed it out...gracias.
Being in Leon I don't undertand the name La Laguna de Castilla. The fair name should be A Lagoa de Leon. Hahaha
 

Pelegrin

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Thank you so much, Pelegrin! I hesitate to ask you, but could you ask her, is the large door original, or was it made when the house was converted to a stable? And what was the bracket by the small window on the street for? I would ask her myself, but I don't speak Galego (or Spanish).
The door is a good question Bert but I don't dare to bother again because the woman seemed to be too young to know this.
Because the lack of flat terrain to build is possible that they used the grown floor to store hay. In any case they used for sure manure cow to fertilize the fields so with that door they could introduce the carts inside to load the manure more easily. So the door can be of this size from the beginning.
For brackets I understand the bars at the small window. I think that they are to prevent fox attacks because they grow now chickens or rabbits inside.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
For brackets I understand the bars at the small window.
From one non-native speaker of English to another 😊 ... I had to consult a dictionary to find out whether "brackets" means anything else than this: ( ) { } [ ]. I now think that what is referred to are these two flat planks of wood that you see just beneath the roof. They seem to be fixed together to form a triangle - at least the part that we can see. It's difficult to make a good screenshot in Google Earth, here is one:

Bracket.jpg
 

Pelegrin

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From one non-native speaker of English to another 😊 ... I had to consult a dictionary to find out whether "brackets" means anything else than this: ( ) { } [ ]. I now think that what is referred to are these two flat planks of wood that you see just beneath the roof. They seem to be fixed together to form a triangle - at least the part that we can see. It's difficult to make a good screenshot in Google Earth, here is one:

View attachment 81585
Thank you @Kathar1na.
In don't know what is this for.
 

caminka

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@caminka, can you explain this a bit? So interesting!
spolia (pl. spoliae) is a latin term used in archaeology, art and architecture when a (stone) object is reused in/as something. for example, if a tombstone is reused as a lintel (as in hornillos del camino) or a corbel is reused as part of a wall construction but is at the same time the wall's decoration (as the wonderful corbel of giving birth on the cathedral in santander).
 

caminka

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I think that the vertical line just to the left of the central doorway is almost an optical illusion. When you look closely at it, there is nothing there (also visible in attached photo)
that's why I dubbed it 'the ghost of a line' because I think that if you removed one of the other plaster/cement lines, this is what would be left of them if you weren't very thorough.
 

caminka

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I called Albergue La Escuela and spoke with a very friendly woman. According to her the current stable was in the past a house (for people) with stable in the ground floor like every other stable in the villages around. That explains the 2 windows upstairs. The kitchen in that mountain area was not always in the grown floor like in my area of Galicia which is flatter.
According to her the symbol at the door is the mark of the canteiro (stonemason).
My conversation with her was in Galician. I am very happy to realize that despite being still in León they speak a very good Galician in its eastern variant (mine is centraL).
From Villafranca the Galician language is spoken in all the villages.
thank you for asking!
but the stonemasons' marks that I've seen are not usually in relief, they are engraved. and though some can be quite complex, they do not usually comprise a head. check here.
 

Theatregal

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So far...
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thank you for asking!
but the stonemasons' marks that I've seen are not usually in relief, they are engraved. and though some can be quite complex, they do not usually comprise a head. check here.
Yes, I questioned that as well. Some from the cathedral in Santiago.

Stone Mason1.jpgStone Mason2.jpgStone Mason3.jpg
 


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