While much of the original decoration has been erased or whitewashed in the cloister and lower sections of the convento, several mural passages survive in the friezes and ceilings of the upper rooms, where faded geometrical artesonado designs in reds and blues decorate the walls and ceilings interposed with Dominican insignia.Along the walls inventive, swagged and grotesque style friezes, predominantly colored in red oxide, showcase a variety of animals, real and imagined. Birds, dolphins, lions, deer, even wild boar make an appearance, intermingled with baskets and swaths of luxuriant vegetation.
Giant swags with lion’s head
lunette with Dominican cross and dogs
Swag with boar’s head
Floral frieze with birds, dolphins and rattlesnakes
The crowned eagle escutcheon of St. Michael, the patron saint of the mission.
text © 2017 and mural images © 1987 Richard D. Perry. All rights reserved.