Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gargoyle at Amboise

No gothic structure is complete without a gargoyle or two. The château at Amboise has them in spades (now I'm going to have to look up the origin of that phrase). You can see them sticking out from the castle walls in the photo I posted on Thursday. And here's a close up.

There is only one gargoyle in this picture. I don't know who the people are. Click to griffinate.

The gargouille (gargoyle) is essentially a water spout which drains the roofs and terraces of stone buildings. They're designed to eject water away from a building's masonry walls. The gargoyle is typically found on gothic churches and cathedrals and are carved in the form of grotesque creatures to scare away evil and frighten people into attending church.

But gargoyles in other forms existed long before the gothic period and their use can be traced as far back as ancient Egypt and Greece.


  1. Great the shot!

  2. I wonder how long it took the craftsman to make such a detailed rainspout? And it's cute, too- it's hoves are cloven and it's got ears like a ram. At first I thought it was a winged dog, but it must be a sheep, better for hopping up castle walls.

  3. My favorite gargoyles are on my favorite French Cathedral high on the butte at Laon. It got very close to having all seven of the towers that all cathedrals are "supposed" to have (five complete, two at half height) and the gargoyles are oxen, memorizing the great teams of oxen who hauled all the stone up to the building site from the plain below.

    I visited Laon in the 1990s and was very moved at the immense effort that had gone into building it.

  4. craig, thanks!

    evelyn, I'm sure it took a while! Think of how long it took to do them all (there are dozens).

    will, I've been to Laon twice. It's amazing!

    judy, :)

  5. This gargoyle is very interesting.
    Some look so violent, this one appears to be more curious, like a cat is curious. Thanks for enlightening more about these strange creatures.


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