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079. barris

Although the red granite mausoleum of the Barris family doesn’t attract much attention, its decoration certainly does. The 1922 discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamon drove the world into an Egyptian design craze. Two-dimensional artwork & emphasis on straight lines were also a perfect match for Art Deco. There are several Egyptian-inspired vaults in Recoleta Cemetery, but this is one of the most artistic.

The door incorporates a little bit of everything… an eagle, a cartouche, fantastic bird-ram creatures, some Egyptians & even a scarab. Probably the most relevant decoration is the “ka”—two upraised arms which represent the soul or life force:

Barris, Recoleta Cemetery

Barris, Recoleta Cemetery

Twin windows with papyrus & a pair of dogs complete the decoration:

Barris, Recoleta Cemetery

Published inArt + Architecture


  1. Meg Hill-Grigson Meg Hill-Grigson

    What you have labeled as lotus on the above photograph are actually papyrus – another Egyptian symbol – used by the Egyptians for paper and I believe also as yet another symbol for immortality.

  2. Thank you very much, Meg! I’ve seen papyrus in full bloom only, so I didn’t associate the ironwork with that particular plant. But after looking on the internet, I completely agree. Thanks for the comment, & the text is now corrected. Saludos!

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