Posted: October 27th, 2022


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DHM 3233: Heritage of Interior Design

Journal Entry #1: Unit A Precedents
Chapter 1

• Name:
• Date:
• Chapter number and title: Chapter 1 Cultural Precedents
• Area of analysis: 1. architecture, 2. interiors, or 3. furnishings & decorative arts

Architecture: Nunnery, Uxmal

Spiritual motifs – images
of the God of Rain,
serpents, water, and
everything else related
to this culture.

Geometric motifs –
shown through simple
and intricate lines and
shapes like triangles,
squares, circles, etc.


The architecture within the precedent era of design included a lot of simple lines

and geometric shapes that included elements of nature, nevertheless, keeping windows

to a minimum in order to create a sturdy shape to the structure. By focusing on the

facades, even though many times portrayed simplicity through color and motifs, there

where very intricate decorative features on the exterior, including spiritual, geometrical,

and/or cultural motifs. For example, the entry at the Nunnery, Uxmal in Yucatan, Mexico

has very intricate motifs that portray spiritual meanings. The people that lived in this

area believed in the God of Rain, so a big purpose of the city with in the Nunnery was to

store rain water, as it was sacred and a source for life (Harwood,, 2011). With this belief

in mind, you can see the emphasis of the God of Rain through out the facades of the

buildings and entry, which gives not only depth but texture (Harwood, 2011).

Nevertheless, while spiritual motifs were very important to portray on facades, the

Nunnery also had many geometric motifs through out its buildings facades emphasize

unity through contrast by using more simple lines and shapes.

According to a source from Bluftton University, the East building of the Nunnery

had many “triangular and lattice patterns” (Sullivan, 2004). The same source states that

the West building included “fret motifs and was a lot longer than its opposite side”

(Sullivan, 2004); therefore, creating an imperfect proportion of a square (Sullivan,

2004). The frieze of Nunnery included many different types of motifs on its façade like

feathered serpents, combination of geometric simplicity and intricate spiritual motifs, the

design of the Nunnery created a well balanced and rhythmic portrayal of its culture.


Sullivan, M. A. “Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico.” RACE/ETHNICITY,

Harwood, B., May, B., & Sherman, C. (2011). Architecture and interior design: An

integrated history to the present. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.



1 page about the Furniture area: (Side chair in fruitwood, c. early 19th century; Germany.) without the


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