The Spanish Moors were also well acquainted with the use of weathercocks. During the reign, in the eleventh century, of the Zirite kingling of Granada, Badis ben Habbus, a weathercock of strange design surmounted his alcazar. The historian Marmol wrote in the sixteenth century that it was still existing on a little tower, and consisted of "a horseman in Moorish dress, with a long lance and his shield upon his arm, the whole of bronze, with an inscription on the shield which says: "Badis ben Habbus declares that in this attitude should the Andalusian be discovered (at his post)."
Not many other objects in this substance can be instanced as the work of Spanish craftsmen of the sixteenth and succeeding centuries, or of the later-Gothic age immediately preceding. Among them are the pulpits of Santiago cathedral, made by Celma, an Aragonese, in 1563; the choir-screen (1574-1579) in the cathedral of Zaragoza, made by Juan Tomas Cela, also a native of Aragon; the gilt lecterns of Toledo cathedral, which are the work of Nicolas Vergara and his son; the Gothic lectern of the mosque of Cordova; the choir-lectern (1557) of Cuenca, made by Her nando de Arenas, who will also be remembered as having made the reja of the same cathedral; and the octagonal gilt-bronze pulpits of Toledo, wrought by Francisco de Villalpando, as are the bas-reliefs (1564) upon the door of Lions, executed by the same craftsman from designs by Berruguete.
These last-named pulpits are associated with a legend. Within this temple, once upon a time, rested the metal sepulchre of the great Don Alvaro de Luna, so constructed by his orders that upon the touching of a secret spring the statue of the Constable himself would rise into a kneeling posture throughout the celebration of the mass. His lifelong and relentless foe, the Infante Enrique of Aragon, tore up the tomb in 1449; and from its fragments, superstition says, were made these pulpits.
Spanish Renaissance door-knockers in bronze are often curious. Fifteen large bronze rings adorned with garlands, heads of lions and of eagles, or with the pair of columns and the motto Plus Oultre of Charles the Fifth, were formerly upon the pilasters of the roofless, semi-ruined palace of that emperor at Granada. Removed elsewhere for greater safety,1 they will now be potters, armourers, leather-workers, and wood-carvers. But if we look for masterpieces in the art of shaping bronze, our eyes must turn to Italy, where, to astonish modern men, the powers of a Donatello or Ghiberti vibrate across all ages in the bas-reliefs of Saint Anthony at Padua, or in the gates of the Baptistery of Florence.
1 Spaniards have a very scanty confidence in one another's found among the couple of dozen curiosities preserved in a chamber of the Moorish royal residence of the Alhambra.
Herewith I end my sketch of Spanish bronzes, without delaying to describe the tasteless trans-parente behind the altar of Toledo cathedral, or the neo-classic, Frenchified productions of the reign of Charles the Third, such as the table-mountings of the Buen Retiro, or trifles from the silver factory of Antonio Martinez. At the Escorial, the shrine of the Sagrario de la Santa Forma and the altar-front of the pantheon of the kings of Spain, wrought by Fray Eugenio de la Cruz, Fray Juan de la Concepcion, and Fray Marcos de Perpignan, are meritorious objects of their time. But the history of Spanish bronzes properly ends with the Renaissance. This material, possibly from its cost, has not at any time been greatly popular in Spain. Wood, plain or painted, was preferred to bronze in nearly all her statuary. Her mediaeval and Renaissance reja and custodia makers can challenge all the world. So can her honesty, as well as in the competence of their police. Often, at Madrid, and at this day, the porter of a house, as soon as it is dark, unscrews the knockers from the downstairs door, and guards them in his conciergerie until the morning.