The San Francisco visiting the city of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais

The San Francisco visiting the city of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais

Sidewalks, streets and the public square of Ouro Preto-MG (and other towns in this historic region) are famous for their remarkable stone work and sometimes steep hills. Master maisons laid the stones. Slaves brought the stones from the river bottoms and sorted them into smaller or larger rounded stones called “black headed or child’s foot.”
The place where St. Frances is standing in the bas relief is a scene that is almost exactly the same today as it was in the past. The streets are on steep slopes, and the stones are prominent pavement. In the houses, some windows receive the sun, and in the old times, the slaves would cook candies and pies made of pumpkins, milk and sugar of many varieties to dry in the sunny windows.  Sometimes, children would come by and steal a little candy. People would see them and call out, “Pega moleque,” which soon became the term, “pe de moleque,” meaning roughly, “skin of the brats,” in Portuguese. The term stuck, and now “Pe de Moleque” is the name of a famous candy in Brasil.
This bas relief also shows the many  houses in the town. The wealthiest families had more brick wings (eiras) and borders (beiras) along the rooftop of the house, and so the more rich the owner, the  more wings and  borders at the top of the houses (eiras and beiras). This also became a famous saying in Brasil: That a person without possessions is a person without “eiras nem beiras.”

T0031 – São Francisco em Ouro Preto. 100 cm x 90 cm.

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