Discover Ourense XXXIX: The Door of Paradise

Postcard 56 shows one of the chief artworks in Ourense's Cathedral, the Door of Paradise (Pórtico do Paraíso). 

This 13th-century pórtico was built by students of Master Mateo, best known for his Pórtico da Gloria in the Cathedral of Santiago de CompostelaIts three arches are supported by columns with a central mullion. The apostle St James holds a sword reminiscent of his alleged miraculous participation in the legendary Battle of Clavijo.

Other decorations include Christ being tempted by the devil, a medallion of God the Father and a tabernacle presenting St Martin tearing his cloak. 

The archivolts of the central arch bear the figures of the 24 elders from the Book of Revelation. The columns themselves are sculpted with apostles and prophets while the capitals present a variety of figures including Christ's temptations in the desert, centaurs fighting mermaids, dragons and harpies with frightening faces who were said to have brought the plague.

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