Saturday, April 7, 2012

G IS FOR GARGOYLE — AND NOT A TV SERIES.

Long before evestroughs, gutters, and downspouts, there were gargoyles.

From the Peace Tower, at Canada's Parliament Building in Ottawa.

These were normally ugly looking faces, with a trough in the back and water coming out the open mouth.

From the Basilica of Sacré Coeur, Paris, France. Note the water trough at the back.

Gargoyles, usually made of granite, were put on the rooves of ancient billings (particularly churches) to convey "water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between."(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gargoyle)

Usually these gargoyles were quite visible to people on the ground, even though they could not see the detail. In some cases, though, gargoyles could not be seen from the ground, in places where water dumped from one roof to another. But in each case, the gargoyles were done in meticulous detail — the obvious work of a craftsman who took pride in his activity. (Oh, to have more of those craftsmen today!)

These are interesting creatures. But I would not want to meet one at night — whether in my dreams or awake.

Do you have a gargoyle on your house? Have you seen them other places?

20 comments:

susan said...

I was lucky enough to spend several months in Paris in my youth. Counting Gargoyles on the roof of Notre Dame was part of the fun. No, I never did run into Quasimodo but we did watch Charles Laughton playing him very recently.

DJan said...

I saw gargoyles on the ruins in Chichen Itza in Mexico. They were really scary1

Violet said...

I love gargoyles! When I have a home of my own, I want to install some of my own making!!!

bebone said...

I want one.

Rob-bear said...

® susan: Glad to know the gargoyles didn't scare you. And Charles Laughton — there's a name that rings a bell. ;)

® DJan: They are, usually, fairly frightening. And they come in so any forms — lions, dogs, eagles, wolves, snakes, and so many more.

® Violet: When you get your own done, please send some pictures.

® bebone: Thanks for visiting the Bear. You can have a gargoyle if you want — all you need to do is find it, and it's yours. Sort of, at least. (I don't know how they would work as pets.)

Pat Carroll Marcantel said...

Dear Bear,
Gargoyles are supposed to drive demons away. Many years ago I saw many on the older buildings in Paris.
One of my sons-in-law collects small ones who are small enough to live within the home. Ugh.

Rob-bear said...

® Pat Carroll Marcantel : Of course! I should have included that note.
And your sil collects them? Interesting collection.

Melissa Sugar said...

They scare me.

Elizabeth Hernandez said...

I do not have a gargoyle at this house. though when I lived at my brothers we had several of them. He had them around the yard. And I have seen them on building. They are all so different and interesting.
Blessings

Rob-bear said...

® Melissa Sugar: Actually, they're very friendly, once you get to know them. Like Bears.

® Elizabeth Hernandez: They are interesting. And they have character. Thanks for visiting the Bear.

The Blog Fodder said...

No gargoyles, but a few goyles.

Haddock said...

I always wondered why they made them into scary shapes...

Suburbia said...

I love looking at them on churches and cathedrals, they often look most unsuitable for those situations!

Bish Denham said...

The only gargoyles I've seen are the ones on the Washington Cathedral in DC, which even as a Darth Vader gargoyle.

Stephen Tremp said...

I see them when looking at older buildings in downtown sections. Seems like there could be other things designers could have used. But some of the detail is amazing I have to admit.

JJ said...

Gargoyles are favorites of mine. In fact, I have a dog, Bentley, that looks exactly like one.

Shannon King said...

Me neither...they are beautiful though, at least to me...interesting post, I learned one more new thing to tuck away in the recesses of my mind...thanks buddy

Katy Manck, MLS said...

I've seen a number of gargoyles in Paris, Nantes, and other French cities, but not many in my recent travels.

I'd better keep my eyes open, as I may have been too intent on walking forward to look up!

**Katy M
Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at
http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

Our house is rather new (well, almost 40 years old now), so gargoyles might look out of place. I can dream, though.

Erin

Eliza Wynn said...

I always enjoy seeing gargoyles on buildings. They're just so interesting and fascinating!

Ellie, who has 3 blogs in the challenge
Ellie's Blank Book
Ellie's Couch
Help Michigan Pets