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Tomb cover of Blas de Lezo

Anonymous1774

Gordailua, the Gipuzkoa Heritage Collection Centre

Gordailua, the Gipuzkoa Heritage Collection Centre

This is a tomb cover, the lid of the burial place with an inscription and a coat of arms. The inscription reads, “THIS TOMB IS THE HOME OF THE MOST EXCELLENT BLAS DE LEZO”. It comes from the parish church of San Pedro (Pasaia / Pasajes), and dates from 1774. It is particularly interesting for several reasons.

It is made of wood, showing that it dates from a time when churches were divided up as burial places, with the grave covers acting as floorboards. This wooden tomb, with its coat of arms and inscription, is the only example of its kinds preserved in Gipuzkoa. The fact that it was made long after Blas de Lezo’s death and the reference to the “home”, indicates that it is not his personal burial place, but that of his family, a common practise at that time. The coat of arms and the reference to the occupant’s heroic nature lent the tomb greater importance than others. Nonetheless, it still forms part of the idea of the parish as a community made up of a set of houses and families.

The protagonist, too, was typical of the place and time in which he was born. The bay at Pasajes / Pasaia was the main port in Gipuzkoa. For centuries cod and whaling ships, trading vessels and warships were built there and from there they set sail for the furthest-flung corners of the world. Blas de Lezo (1689-1741) was a naval officer and took part in numerous battles defending the interests of the Crown. He was maimed and eventually died from his wounds.

Bibliography:

Manso de Zúñiga, Gonzalo. Museo San Telmo. Bilbao : La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca ; San Sebastián : Caja de Ahorros Municipal, 1976. 228-263.

Inventory number: STM-012219-001

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Details

  • Title: Tomb cover of Blas de Lezo
  • Creator: Anonymous
  • Date: 1774
  • Physical Dimensions: 187 x 60 x 3,6
  • Provenance: Pasaia (Gipuzkoa)
  • Type: Religious objects
  • External Link: San Telmo Museum
  • Medium: Wood

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