Saturday, 13 April 2013

Patio de los Leones

Yesterday, as I innocently strolled down the hill to the village praza for my daily constitutional and chess game, I was asked by a toothless old farmer of the name of Eufemio Almeida Souto (who grows turnips for the pigs and an occasional cannabis plant for passing tourists on the plot of our former graveyard) what precisely I found so very revolting in this one 'charming picture' of the fountain which I posted April 7 ult.

Ah yes, dear reader... The kind of folk that read one's blog....!!

Now, it is hard to explain to one who has never visited the Bilbao Guggenheim, what KITSCH really is. So I will let my pictures speak more than the thousand words I could easily scribble upon the subject, and let all of you (e tu, Eufemio!!) compare and decide for your own worthy selves.

The snapshot I published last Sunday is this one:

Which happens to be a sickeningly white plaster imitation of the famous Patio de los Leones in the Alhambra Nazarí Palace of Granada, run up - at considerable cost to the tax-payer, no doubt - in a tiny public square of the tiny little municipality of Camariñas, on the north coast of Galicia. 

The original looks like this:

And if anybody still fails to see the difference, then I propose that he or she refrain forever after from making ANY statement whatsoever concerning art, beauty, good taste, elegance or the bullfight (which, as we all know, is just as artistic as a Mozart concierto or a Rembrandt painting, according to its aficionados, most sophisticated people that they are...) 

Oh, and talking of bovines: let me share with you my incomparable antiquarian's lore, and explain to you that it is far from certain that the animals depicted here were indeed originally meant as lions. All sorts of other beasts have been proposed by knowledgeable folk, such as bears and dogs and horses. However, there is a fine chance that in reality, the whole set-up goes back to the so-called Molten Sea in front of the Temple of Solomon, in which case the twelve beasts would originally have been twelve bulls. As in this here picture. 

And so you see, dear reader (et tu, Eufemius!): civilization marches on forever! From Jerusalem in 1000 BCE, to Granada in 1400 AD, to Camariñas in the year 2009...

O Tempora... O Mores...

PS Oh, incidentally: I think I know where the Camariñas town hall ordered that excellent copy of the  Patio de los Leones fountain. Check out this fine company which will sell you a truthful 'facsimile' for a mere 39 €uros 64 !!!


  1. That original picture looks better. Incidentally, our house's name is Alhambra (means House of God in Arabic apparently).


  2. Of course it does, Ms Azra. And the original spot CERTAINLY looks better (if you manage to get in, that is...; I still went there decades ago when all of half a dozen people wanted to visit, but nowadays the busloads of tourists are as thick on the ground as the grains of sand on the beach, so to say...)

    'Alhambra' means 'the Red One', and the Palace is so called because it stands on a hill consisting of bright red soil and is itself built from bright red bricks.

  3. In Colin Da Silva's book "Alhambra" he goes into detail about the Etymology of the word and it was there that I learned that it was Arabic for "House of God".


  4. Well, I would not wish to argue with a book I have not read. And I do understand from the Wikipedia entry that there are indeed some other proposed etymologies, a few of them not even crackpot. However, this is what I learned in Arabic class, and it makes perfect sense. So I personally will stick to it, leaving you and everyone else free to believe what pleases you best.

    Yours, Al