EST. 2009

October 27, 2010

Those Gargoyles

OVERLOOKING THE CITY. Oh wait, that's me!

Despite countless fantastical myths and legends, it turns out that the gargoyles, however impressive or iconic, are in fact nothing more than glorified gutters.

From French gargouille, meaning "throat", gargoyle in architecture refers to grotesque figures carved in stone, with spouts that spew water away from a building to keep the mortar in the walls from eroding. So while the personified figures appear decoratively charming, they are actually hard-working things that help to keep some of the oldest historical structures standing tall and strong.

The Notre Dame gargoyles however, by introduction of the lead drain pipe in the 16th century, retired their technical functions, and after the wars, had been restored for mere decorative purposes. So now they are more accurately grotesques or chimeras rather than water-conveying gargoyles.

But that's a long story to have to casually explain to anyone right? And thus, the Notre Dame gargoyles have remained to be called gargoyles all the same. The end.

Galerie des Chimères, Notre Dame de Paris.