Stone Carving for the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Replicas of the Salamancan University Façade and New Cathedral Nativity Portal


Stone carving
Arts and crafts
Architectural replicas
Spanish Renaissance

How to Cite

García Moro, F. (2022). Stone Carving for the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Replicas of the Salamancan University Façade and New Cathedral Nativity Portal. Journal of Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism, (3), 325–337.


In 1994 the Japanese government commissioned the construction of scale replicas of two sculptural landmarks of the Castilian city of Salamanca: the university façade and the Nativity Portal of the New Cathedral. The reproductions were carved by local sculptors in the same sandstone as the originals and installed as entrances to a concert hall in the Prefecture of Gifu on Honsu Island. Given the nature of the hall, the client required the replicas to include modifications relative to the originals, for which the craftspeople had to develop an analytical understanding of the logic of Plateresque and Late Gothic ornamentation. The Nativity Portal’s intricacy and complexity made this task particularly challenging, as such work could not be automated. A team consisting of sculptors and an architect was formed to “think like the original builders” and deliver the replicas as specified.


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