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Church of San Salvador de Valdediós

Date of Submission: 27/01/2017
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports
State, Province or Region:
Principado de Asturias
Coordinates: X: 297145 Y: 4812407
Ref.: 6168

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In 1985, the World Heritage Committee registered the site "Asturian Pre-Romanesque Architecture" in the World Heritage List (312). It consisted of three sites (Santa María del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo and Santa Cristina de Lena). The entry was made on the basis of criteria (i), (ii) and (iv), with a favourable report from the Advisory Body ICOMOS.  

In 1988, the State Party requested that the site be extended to include the Historic Centre of Oviedo (312 [2]). ICOMOS considered then that the candidature should be reformulated, as the historic centre includes many more values from different periods to be considered a simple extension of the site registered, which are limited only to the Pre-Romanesque period. Accordingly, the World Heritage Committee decided to consider the proposal, though only registering the city's three most significant Pre-Romanesque monuments; that is, the Cámara Santa, San Julián de los Prados and La Foncalada, based on the same criteria as in the other three monuments already registered.  

In the year 2007, the 31st Session of the World Heritage Committee examined the request presented for a new extension, to include the Church of San Salvador de Valdediós. The Committee adopted Decision 31COM 8B.62 then, which states textually: “[The Committee] Recommends that if the State Party wishes the San Salvador de Valdediós Church to be considered for inscription, it should be encouraged to undertake a comparative evaluation of the pre-Romanesque churches in the hinterland of Oviedo and submit this with a formal request for the Committee to consider a further extension of the serial property of the Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias, Spain”.

On the basis of this Decision, a proposal was presented in February 2016 for a minor extension, which was analyzed by the World Heritage Committee in July of 2016, agreeing at that time, on the advice of ICOMOS, that the proposal involved including a new monument into the serial nomination and so it was necessary to make a proposal for a non-minor extension, thus permitting a period of evaluation prior to the definitive decision on including Valdediós to the sites already inscribed in the World Heritage Lis.

Based on these decisions, it is now proposed to incorporate the proposal to extend the declared site of Asturian Pre-Romanesque to include the Church of San Salvador de Valdediós, in Villaviciosa, Asturias.

This church of San Salvador de Valdediós is one of the most perfect examples of a basilica ground plan in Asturias. It consists of three aisles, separated by two arcades in four sections, triple sanctuary with three overlapping enclosures, two rooms opening onto the side aisles and a triple forestructure at the western end on the ground floor, double on the upper level, with a portico and two chambers on the ground floor and a tribune and another two rooms on the upper floor. As annexes, the southern facade has a portico and a chapel. All spaces are roofed with barrel vaults in tufa stone.

The basilica of San Salvador de Valdediós is the most significant work in Asturias' late-9th-century  architecture. It was consecrated on 16 September of the year 893 by seven bishops, whose names are shown on the consecration inscription set in what is known as the chapel of the bishops, in the church's south-eastern corner. 

Nevertheless, an archaeological analysis of decoration, painting and structures suggests that the date of consecration would only correspond to the southern side portico and the mural paintings, insofar as the church would have been built previously, possibly around 875, judging by the palaeographical designs of the inscriptions inside the church. The dedication inscriptions of the three chapels are conserved, Holy Saviour, Saint John the Baptist and Saint James, and an inscription on the western door, of an advisory nature.  

The southern side portico differs from the rest of the church. It dates from before the pictorial decoration of the building's interior and shows magnificent sandstone masonry, roofed with a barrel vault with transverse arches resting on columns embedded into the piers of the wall and on capitals and corbels set in the interior decoration of the portico wall. An arcade with six arches adjoins the decoration of the nave wall and the side chamber.

The chapel on the south-eastern corner is difficult to date. Its purpose seems to have been to protect the consecration tablet. It is built from a variety of materials, alternating rows of regular ashlar blocks with irregular stonework. It is roofed with a brick vault.  

The architectural sculpture comprises three sets of pieces. The interior supports are monolithic pillars, with the characteristic Asturian molded imposts. However, the entrances to the three chapels of the chancel are victory arches set on pairs of columns with bases and capitals. The ones in the central chapel are Asturian original creations. The side chapels, though, resorted to re-used granite capitals. In the southern and western portico, the 24 capitals show outstanding knowledge of Andalusian designs, which however include a typically Asturian structure.  

The building's interior conserves remarkable remains of paintings in the central chapel, in the northern chapel, in the vault over the nave and in the central and southern spaces of the upper floor of the western forestructure. The largest surface area have been lost, such as the panels between windows and dividing arcades in the nave, and the wall panels in the side aisles.

From the perspective of spatial morphology, Valdediós is a finished example of combining a basilical appearance with complete vaulting of all spaces, which reduced the width of the interior and its capacity to provide light. The richness of its decoration and the fact that it was consecrated by seven bishops suggests that, in such a circumstance, the court must have played a role, reigned over at the time by Alfonso III (866-910).  

As from the foundation of Santa María de Valdediós, a Cistercian monastery founded by Alfonso IX of León in 1200, its church was consecrated in 1218 and stands inside the monastic enclosure. From this time on and up until the disentailment of 1835, the small Pre-Romanesque basilica was associated with the monastic community. After disentailment, with the Cistercian church converted into the parish see of San Bartolomé de Puelles, custody of the Pre-Romanesque monument was entrusted to the Minor Diocesan Seminary, based in the Cistercian monastic buildings in 1862, until its elimination around 1960. A subsequent period of abandonment for the property ended in 1986, with the start of an ambitious monumental restoration project for the Cistercian monastery under the Valdediós School-Workshop, operating up to 2000. In the years 2002-2004, actions were finalised on the roofs, with renovation of those of the Church of Santa María.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Asturias has conserved the most complete, homogeneous group in early medieval architecture anywhere in western Europe. Dated throughout the 9th century and early years of the 10th century, the six Pre-Romanesque monuments declared (as serial) World Heritage sites are unparalleled as regards the degree and quality of their original state of conservation.  

The Asturian Pre-Romanesque monuments included in the World Heritage List are a representative selection of the fifteen churches and three secular constructions that survive from this artistic style. The sites affected by the declaration are as follows: Churches of San Julián de lols Prados (locally known as Santullano and built during the reign of Alfonso II, between 791-842), Santa María del Naranco (built between 842-850, in the reign of Ramiro I), San Miguel de Lillo (also built during the reign of Ramiro I) and La Foncalada fountain (datable from the first half of the 9th century), all of them located in the Asturian capital, Oviedo, together with the Church of Santa Cristina de Lena, located in southern Asturias (built around 850). The extension now requested includes the Church of San Salvador de Valdediós, located in Villaviciosa, about 35 km NE of Oviedo, consecrated in 893.

San Salvador de Valdediós is a complete example of the combination of a basilica layout with full vaulting of all spaces, reducing interior width and capacity to provide light, as it was unable to open windows as wide as a building roofed with wooden frames. Functionally, there exists no Hispanic basilica that has conserved to such a considerable degree the equipment necessary to reconstruct liturgical use. The richness of its sculptural and pictorial decoration, and the fact it was consecrated by seven bishops suggests that, in such circumstances, the court must have played a role, reigned over at that time by Alfonso III (866-910). 

In the year 1985, the World Heritage Committee agreed on the inscription of three Asturian Pre-Romanesque buildings in the World Heritage List. These were Santa María del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo and Santa Cristina de Lena. Subsequently, in 1998, that recognition was completed to extended the inscription to Santullano, La Foncalada and the Cámara Santa of Oviedo Cathedral. In both cases the, inscription was carried out on the basis of the following criteria, which are upheld with the proposal for extension addressed in this report:

Criterion (i): Asturian Pre-Romanesque architecture represents a unique artistic achievement, which is not the product of a metamorphosis of early Christian art and nor is a copy of Carolingian art. They have rich decoration that includes Visigothic reminiscences, Arabic elements and others that recall the major temples of Asia Minor.  

Criterion (ii): The Asturian monuments have had a remarkable influence on the development of medieval architecture on the Iberian peninsula.  

Criterion (iv): The palaces and churches around Oviedo are excellent examples of the civilization of the small Christian Kingdom of Asturias, developed at the time of greatest splendor of the emirate of Cordova.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

San Salvador de Valdediós conserves the consecration inscription in a perfectly legible state, which not only represents an essential document for dating its construction but also for the chronology of early medieval Hispanic architecture, and at the same time, for the mentions of the seven consecrating bishops offers a valuable testimony to establish the Episcopal series in the Kingdom of Asturias of the 9th century. As regards its architectural materiality, the whole building is a construction of the 9th century, with the only exception of the northern side room. This section of the building, demolished prior to the 16th century, as attested by visitors during that century, was reconstructed by the restoring architect Luis Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez in 1972. The criteria that guided his intervention were as follows:

  1. identification of the tas-de-charges of the demolished side walls.
  2. existence of a walled door that gave access to the room, now disappeared, of the presbytery of the church.
  3. identification of the room's foundations after excavating the site where it stood.
  4. identification of the tas-de-charge of the room's roof in the construction conserved.
  5. re-construction of the room by adopting the same stone visible in the existing symmetrical southern room, with an exact copy of the double-lancet window used to provide light.

This work, wholly respecting the original morphology, contributed to recovering the site's original unity and spatiality.

As regards other elements, from the paving to the eaves of the roofs and the materiality of the vaults, the construction of San Salvador de Valdediós is original and datable without doubt to the late 9th century. San Salvador de Valdediós incorporates all the elements that validated Inscription on the World Heritage List of the other six buildings that already enjoy this acknowledgement. It represents the most perfect example of an Asturian basilica layout in an excellent state of conservation and originality, even conserving the original pulleys of the liturgical service for raising and lowering the candles of the main altar, a typical feature of the Hispanic liturgy, used in the Kingdom of Asturias in the centuries prior to adopting the Roman liturgy around the year 1100, a unique circumstance in early medieval Hispanic architecture. The environment of the building, within the grounds of the Cistercian monastery of Santa María de Valdediós, declared a Site of Cultural Interest - the maximum category of heritage protection in Spanish legislation - guarantees the indefinite, permanent conservation of the current conditions for visits and enjoyment, which are incomparable. Due to its perfect state of conservation, no processes of material deterioration exist, and it underwent a meticulous preventive conservation procedure in 2010-2011, which included renewing the tiles, treating exterior decoration by consolidating the original renders, waterproofing and study and consolidation of the brick vault over the exterior SE chapel, fixing the process of structural instability the structure was showing.

Comparison with other similar properties

The incorporation of San Salvador de Valdediós into the UNESCO World Heritage List, as an extension to the property "Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of Asturias", is fully relevant, due to the monument's intrinsic values and its capacity to complete the panorama of this singular architectural ensemble, sharing to a maximum extent the values that, at the time, were accredited for the remaining monuments for their inscription in this List. It is the only Pre-Romanesque monument that can be accurately dated (in the year 893), also conserving its material characteristics to a much greater degree than the rest of Pre-Romanesque buildings.

Valdediós is the only basilica conserved from the time of Alfonso III (866910), last king of Asturias. Its consecration date, 16 September 893, represents a chronological landmark of momentous importance in the chronological order of the Hispanic medieval architecture. None of the six Asturian monuments included in the World Heritage List offers such certainty. Accordingly, Santullano is dated generically from the reign of Alfonso II (791842), as its lacks inscriptions, and the possibilities of defining this broad interval are hypothetical, though everything suggests a construction date around 820825. The two monuments on mount Naranco, Santa María and San Miguel are sure, but are also derived from documentary mentions: the reign of Ramiro I (842850), with the particularity of having an altar erected in 848, of which there are doubts as to its original location. The date of Santa Cristina de Lena is based on typological analysis, with evidence of its dependence of the project of Santa María del Naranco, suggesting the year 850 as "terminus post quem". Foncalada, also lacking intrinsic documentation, has traditionally been attributed to Alfonso III (866910), but recent studies assign it to Alfonso II. Finally, the date of the Camara Santa of Oviedo cathedral stems from the combination of an archaeological indication and a documentary mention, coherent with each other, that suggest a construction in 883884, as regards the deposition of the remains of the Cordovan saints Eulogio and Leocricia. However, the consecration inscription of Valdediós allows the building to be dated with certainty, giving the terminus ante quem of the year 893 when it was completed. If we observe other early medieval Hispanic architecture, the transcendence of San Salvador is equally clear, and is even strengthened: the architecture of Leon is based on lost inscriptions (San Miguel de Escalada), documentary deductions (San Cebrián de Mazote, Santa María de Lebeña, Santa María de Wamba, San Miguel de Celanova, Santiago de Peñalba) or stylistic criteria (Santo Tomás de las Ollas). In Galicia and Portugal, only São Pedro de Lourosa conserves a foundation inscription, very brief, and with no possible comparison with Valdediós. The remaining buildings owe their chronological order to the comparative analysis both of ornamental motifs and of constructive typologies and in many cases the construction technique itself, with large ashlars, reused, giving rise to controversies as to the real date of the present day building, as is the case with Santa Comba de Bande. In Castile and La Rioja, the panorama is similar, with a lack of inscriptions and discussion as to the meaning of documentary and archaeological evidence in each case. The inscription of the reconstruction of San Román de Tobillas has been conserved (Álava), ffrom the 10th century, allowing a definition of the church's two Pre-Romanesque phases stages (Azkárate, 1995), but with no certainty as in a building in situ like Valdediós. There are no inscriptions associated with Pre-Romanesque buildings in Catalonia, and chronologies depend on the abundant documentary records of consecration conserved, which have been associated with the constructions, with the corresponding problems of interpretation.

In turn, this consecration inscription contains a synchronic reference of seven bishops in the year 893, making it a decisive element for establishing and synchronising the Early Medieval Hispanic Episcopal series, together with the almost contemporary (883) poem contained in the Chronica albeldensia. As such, it has been precisely evalatued by the ecclesiastical historiography of the 18th century. In short, the quality of its versified text makes it an outstanding document, still to be explored, regarding the positioning of court literature from the times of Alfonso III into its cultural context.

The state of conservation of its material structures surpasses all the others, which came to light in its most recent restoration. Of the six buildings included in the World Heritage List, there are none that responds to the Asturian basilical type that Valdediós exemplifies. San Miguel de Lillo is an exceptional building in its unrivalled conception, and exists now in a volume corresponding to a third of the original. Santullano represents the basilical type building with transept well, but it lacks the western porch, and owing to the conditions of its special promotion and the certain proximity of a palatial complex, it must also have constituted another exception. Additionally, the typical Asturian basilicas San Saviour de Valdediós, Sacred Adriano de Tuñón, San Pedro de Nora, Santiago de Gobiendes are not represented thus far, paradoxically.

Valdediós provides a differentiating characteristic: instead of the foregoing, contemporary and later basilicas, Valdediós is totally vaulted with parallel barrel vaults over all its sections: double western porch, nave and aisles, triple sanctuary, side halls of the choir, south-eastern chapel and apsidioles. In San Miguel de Lillo we also have a fully vaulted building, also with the particularity of arranging the roof by means of a longitudinal barrel vault over the nave and a series of five vaults transversal to it over each of the five sections of the aisles, a unique composition and unrivalled in early medieval architecture. The buildings dated as subsequent to Valdediós San Saviour de Priesca, 921 or which are either contemporary or subsequent , Santo Adriano de Tuñón, 891, Santiago de Gobiendes resume the model of basilical roof that appeared in Santullano (ca. 820825) of vaulting with straight barrels over the chapels of the sanctuary and wood over aisles and porches. The contemporary Cámara Santa of Oviedo cathedral (ca. 884) completely vaults the lower crypt of Santa Leocadia and the chancel of the upper chapel of San Miguel, but it maintains the wooden roof over the nave. Valdediós represents a model condemned to a lack of continuity, because the basilicas of Leon from the beginning of the 10th century only vault the chancel San Miguel de Escalada, 913; San Cebrián de Mazote, circa. 916 with dome shaped groin vaults, Santa María de Lebeña (circa. 920) arranges the axes of the vaults according to counteraction with the covered spaces with a barrel over the west east axis in the two sections of the nave and with transversal north south barrels in the sections corresponding to the aisles , and churches with singles aisles, from a slightly later date, adopt roofs vaulted with domes or groined structures in Andalusian style, such as Santo Tomás de las Ollas, Santiago de Peñalba (937), San Miguel de Celanova (circa. 950), as in the Mozarabic Santa Lucía de El Trampal, from the 9th century, while in São Pedro de Lourosa (912) and São Gião de Nazaré, from the 11th century, the chancel had barrel vaults, in Asturian style, maintaining wood over the aisles and service compartments. The Galician Portuguese buildings of the 9th and 10th centuries maintain the Asturian standard of vaulting the simple or triple chancels, and roofing the aisles with wood: this is the case of Santa María de Mixós, San Martiño de Pazó, Santa Eufemia de Ambía, San Salvador de Samos, and San Xés de Francelos. In the same way, the churchos of Castile or La Rioja from the 10th century cover the chancels with domes or half dome vaults with ribs, maintaining carpentry over the nave, such as Santa María de Quintanilla de las Viñas, Santa Cecilia de Barriosuso, San Pedro de Arlanza, La Asunción de San Vicente del Valle, San Felices de Oca, San Andrés and San Pedro de Torrecilla in Cameros, and the early medieval part of San Millán de la Cogolla. Santa Coloma de Nájera, on the other hand, is entirely vaulted with domes, as corresponds to its use as a mausoleum martyrium, a typology that also explains the system of roofs in São Frutuoso de Montélios, under discussion, but which conserves a central dome and a vaulted right-hand section of the western arm, with the roofs of the three other arms of the cross shaped layout remaining unknown. On the other hand, the other Gaslician cross shaped building, Santa Comba de Bande, shows a system of roofs consisting of vaulted section perpendicular to each other, in brick, and from an uncertain date, because archaeological analysis of the construction has documented several episodes when the property was in ruins, as is the case with San Pedro de la Nave which, in any event, did not vault more than the eastern halls, roofing the three aisles with wood. Regarding the Catalan churches of the 10th century, mostly with a single nave and chancel, these are usually vaulted, while the naves may adopt wooden or concrete barrel-vaulted solutions, conserving the marks of formwork, usually of very deficient geometry.

Valdediós is therefore an outstanding, very isolated example for the time completely of a basilica vaulted with parallel canyons, except the contemporary Santa María de Wamba, whose triple chancel and transept is roofed with sections of barrel vaults generating horseshoes, with no possibility of reconstructing the roofs of the replaced early medieval aisles. This summarised review of Pre-Romanesque peninsular architecture highlights the obvious interest of Valdediós thanks to its completely vaulted roof.

From the point of view of architectural typology, the greatest interest of Valdediós lies in the western porch, together with the one in Lillo the only one wholly conserved among Asturian monuments. It shares with this Oviedo church the three part horizontal arrangement and two part vertically, but differs in the design of the access to the upper floor and in the interior layout of each floor. In Lillo, the central area of the lower floor is isolated and, like in Valdediós, was open, with a door in its eastern wall. However, in Valdediós, two side cubicles opened off the central area or vestibule, which have the peculiarity of iron lintels that help discharge the weight supported by the entrance panel. These cubicles, whose function is considerably disputed, correspond in the layout to the side chambers of the upper gallery. In Lillo, they are located inside the church and act as vestibules of the stairway leading up to the gallery, opened between the western wall of the church and the western walls of the side chambers of the gallery. In Valdediós, however, both cubicles are blind, as the stairway up to the gallery is located in the western section of the southern aisle. On the upper floor, the layout of both galleries could not be more different. In Lillo, the central hall opens onto the corresponding aisle with a large balcony and freely joins the two stairways described and two narrow side chambers, with doors closed from the interior, whose vaults are perpendicular to the vault of the central hall, in a west east axis. The side chambers have narrow windows permitting ventilation and light, while the central hall initially lacked a window in the western gable wall, the present day one the result of a reformation in the 18th century. The large eastern arch of the central hall does not conserve closure marks, but this same eastern gable wall, at its upper end, next to the meeting point of the nave vault, conserves two pulleys that were used to hoist and spread the veil whose purpose was to prevent visual communication between nave and gallery, though we cannot determine the exact position from which the pulleys were operated, bearing in mind there is still another room over the vault over the central hall of the gallery, isolated except by means of an opening up in the same western gable wall of the nave, which can only be accessed by a ladder. Accordingly, the pulleys could be operated both from this room, and from the gallery or from the nave itself.

In Valdediós, the door giving access to the gallery is in the eastern wall of the southern hall and is closed from the inside. From there, a narrow opening leads into the broad central hall, open onto the nave by a large window, and from this hall into the northern chamber, even more difficult to access and which can be closed from inside. The eastern opening of the gallery conserves the jambs for closure by means of wooden shutters, which shuts off communication with the nave. The central hall is lit by a wide double window in the western facade, and the two side chambers by rectangular windows. The stone ledge is conserved embedded in the western wall.

Evidence of reform work that could be related with the church's consecration in 893 is the construction embedded in the southern wall of the narrow porch, open both to the exterior by means of a semi-circular arched opening and to the interior, taking advantage of the pre-existing southern door of the basilica. The external door opens from inside, as does the door to the interior

of the church. This area, built with robust ashlars in transverse arches over embedded half columns reinforced with blind arcades, and corbels built into the wall, lit by three lattice windows in the southern wall and a splendid in the western wall, with its decorated interior walls, contains a remarkable amount of ornamentation (22 capitals, 4 lattices), unrivalled in the rest of Hispanic Pre-Romanesque Christian architecture, and only comparable to the central upper hall of Santa María del Naranco. This clearly shows the fusion of Asturian techniques with Andalusian construction and sculptural style and ornamental repertoire, which also appears on the capitals of the western portico and on part of the pictorial decoration conserved inside. The fact that, at first sight, we do not conserve the paving, presumably opus signinum, which floors the whole adjoining building, may be due to two factors: its nonexistence, as it was never put in place at the time, or its disappearance due to subsequent intervention. As the interior of the church has conserved its original paving thus far, historical reasons do not suggest its total disappearance in the portico, which favours the first option: its nonexistence. It is worth wondering why this should be. In 1995, we proposed an explanatory hypothesis, according to the area's spatial morphology: it is just a narrow, dark space, accessible from the inside of the church, with decoration not only incomparable with the building itself but with the rest of known contemporary Christian architecture. This, along with its location beside the church, but outside the liturgical area, led us to consider it as a pantheon of Alfonso III, which would explain both the ornamental finesse and its narrowness, and lack of paving, because the designer's intention would have been to delay certain finishing until after placing the sarcophagi or tombs covered with gravestones, so that they were sealed by paving itself. Despite a number of attempts to relate this southern portico with the one conserved in San Miguel de Escalada, and, by extension, with the future atriums or side porticos of Castilian Romanesque, especially in the provinces of Soria and Segovia, after all we have mentioned regarding the conditions of lighting, access, interior space and exterior morphology, there is no doubt as to the radical, unrivalled originality, without continuity, of the Asturian church, whose probable original use had nothing has to do with the functions of sociability of these these Castilian Romanesque structures.

As regards ornamental sculpture, Valdediós offers two transcendental innovations with respect to foregoing architecture. Firstly, the appearance of a pyramid shaped type of basket capital with large leaves on the corners, straight abacus decorated with bands or geometric grids and beading, that was to be faithfully copied in San Salvador de Priesca a generation after the consecration of Valdediós. They are set in the triumphal arch before the central sanctuary, as a strictly Asturian innovation, faithfully and expressively showing the church designers' appreciation for local creations, as they located them in the site of the building's greatest symbolic importance, relegating foreign copies to the apsidioles. This practice contradicts the standard behaviour normally followed by early medieval architects all over Europe, consisting of enhancing their own constructions by reusing pieces of ruined Roman buildings, relegating local sculpture, if it existed, to the background.

Secondly, the creation of a radically new type of capital, combining an Asturian basket shape, pyramidal faces, derived from foregoing Middle Byzantine models, with surface ornamental themes directly inspired by Andalusian designs. The motifs chosen coincide with those of the lattice windows in the western wall of the side portico, where all these capitals and corbels are located, indicating they were all conceived at the same time. This inspiration, acknowledged since the pioneering work of Gómez Moreno, does not imply that the work was carried out by Andalusian artists, as has occasionally been suggested, because it is clear in the execution of the lattice window how little the Asturian sculptor understood about the nature of the original motif, an organic plant stem, which he solved as series of parallel superimposed tangential circles, with no relationship of continuity among them, unlike the scroll that appeared in the original. Nevertheless, the pieces are of considerable sculptural quality and unquestionably caused some fascination in later Asturian sculpture, because clear derivations of them can be seen in the series of windows in the church of San Martín de Salas(951) and in the capitals of the now disappeared monastery of San Salvador de Deva (circa. 1000).

Valdediós has without doubt been a source of inspiration for a wide range of alfiz framed double or triple windows which, as from their appearance in this church around 875, spread over the whole territory of the Asturian Kingdom, from Galicia and Portugal to the Basque Country, even surpassing their boundaries, as in the case of the central PrePyrenees (Uncastillo, Loarre). In fact, the model of double or triple window with rectangular opening topped in a horseshoe arch and framed by an alfiz, which is used systematically in the building, both on the western façade gallery and in the two side ones four in each and in the two main windows of the chancel sanctuary and apsidiole , was imitated with greater or lesser success in dozens of buildings all over the whole kingdom throughout the 10th century and first half of the 11th. There is no doubt that it was the prestige of this royally promoted building that led to the unparalleled diffusion of this type of window, used in the now disappeared basilica of Santiago de Compostela (consecrated in 899), the greatest constructive endeavour in the reign of Alfonso III, giving some idea of the esteem in which it was held.

Regarding this plastic architecture and certain features of the interior mural painting, there exists a traditionally held association of Valdediós with the architecture known as "Mozarabic", as from its definition in 1919 by Gómez Moreno. Regardless of the valuation and conceptual problems that the term "Mozarabic" has had for over a century, what is true is that the sculptural ensemble of Valdediós and its derivations form a fully autonomous group, with no similarity to the very homogeneous sculpture of Leon in the first half of the 10th century, whose constructions constitute the core of what was considered "Mozarabic" by Gómez Moreno. This, together with the chronological that predates the first examples of this sculpture in Leon San Miguel de Escalada, Sahagún, San Román de Hornija , raises the question of assigning an independent creative role to the Asturian workshop of Valdediós, without questioning the Andalusian inspiration regarding its ornamental repertoire, which is significantly different from designers in Leon had available to them.