Monday, December 25, 2017

A Bestiary in Stone

Now in the Met, this stone arch is said to have come from a 12th-century church in Narbonne, France.

From left to right, in the Met's words: a manticore with a man's face, a lion's body, and a scorpion's tail; a pelican, who pierces her own breast so that her blood feeds her young, symbolizing Christ's death and resurrection;

a basilisk, a cross between a cock and a scorpion that can kill with its looks;

a harpy luring men to their doom with her beautiful voice; a griffin, which has the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion;

an amphisbaena or dragon, which can form its body into a circle; a centaur with drawn bow;

and a lion, who erases his tracks with his tail to elude hunters, symbolizing Christ's incarnation.

No comments: