Uxmal, House of the Doves seen from top of Grand Pyramid

The House of the Doves / Casa de las Palomas

This photo looks down on the lacy roofcomb of the Dove-Cotes from atop the Grand Pyramid.

The early Mayanist scholar and archaeologist Tatiana Proskouriakoff wrote: "When we consider how few roof combs remain standing above the few first courses of stone, the preservation of this particular structure in a group otherwise so completely in ruin seems almost miraculous.

Even bits of decorative stucco still adhere in places to the stone framework, and here and there traces of color can be made out. The design, of course, is obliterated, but the arrangement of projecting tenons indicates a figure or some other dominant motif in the center of each of the stepped triangular units.

It is very unlikely that the Maya should fail to appreciate the charm that the broken silhouette of such a roof comb could add to the otherwise severely rectangular lines of their buildings."

Tatiana Proskouriakoff, An Album of Maya Architecture, p 80.

Uxmal, House of the Doves: Use of Quadrangles in Uxmal city planning

The name of this building, Dove-Coates or Casa de las Palomas or House of the Doves, comes from a fanciful association of the perforated roofcomb with a dove-cote. Tenons protruding from the perforated roof comb are believed to have supported painted stucco figures in ancient times.

Las Palomas contained the entry arch into a now-ruined group of buildings arranged as a quadrangle. Paul Gendrop, an art historian who writes about Maya architectural styles, says: "We should note in passsing that the building whose remains support this elegant openwork comb formed a part of those numerous quadrangles that helped give this beautiful city a distinctive appearance, even thought they come from a type of grouping that existed some time before in the PetÚn nucleus.

Open or closed at the corners, and frequently having a monumental arch through the center of one of its sections, these peculiar quadrangles at Uxmal group many long, range-type buildings...As with most of the large Maya cities, the main buildings might give the impression of a somewhat random placement within a general north-north-east orientation, but subtle visual relationships between these buildings are achieved."

Paul Gendrop, Rio Bec, Chenes, and Puuc Styles in Maya Architecture, p. 192-193

Uxmal, House of the Doves Uxmal, House of the Doves: Entry Arch into the Quadrangle

Views of the entry arch. The Palomas occupied the north side of the original south quadrangle. The whole complex was entered through this vaulted arch which opened toward the north. Tenons which originally supported painted stucco figures are still visible in the roofcomb above the arch.

House of the Doves show collapsed vaulted rooms

The House of the Doves consisted of a series of vaulted rooms, now collapsed. Pollack writes that there were originally nine sections "of which the easternmost is now gone and the westernmost is half fallen."

H.E.D. Pollock, "The Puuc: An Architectural Survey of the Hill Country of Yucatan and Northern Campeche, Mexico,"p 247