Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


11.12.08
  Romanesque Ornaments

I mentioned that one of the features of the Chapter Church in Quedlinburg is the decorative frieze that runs around the main nave. It does so on the outside as well. I got a good view at a piece of it from a window of the abbesses' Renaissance palace that today houses a museum.

Frieze on the main nave of Quedlinburg Cathedral

It is an architectural element that found its way from Italy into German buildings. While in Königslutter the monsters and figures are restricted to the apsis, and the other parts of the frieze (they can be seen on these photos) are merely patterned, Quedlinburg Cathedral shows a mix of monsters and ornaments all the way on the outside - the interior frieze has no monsters, though.

Frieze detail, showing some monsters and animals (partly restored)

Not all Romanesque churches have such friezes (the Weser abbey churches of Lippoldsberg and Bursfelde don't) whereas others take the ornaments a step further, like the Imperial Cathedral in Speyer with its decorative arcades running around the entire building.
 
Comments:
Those are really cool. You knew this of course, which is why you photographed them, but I'm glad you did.
 
They really are great!
 
I like the monsters especially.
 
Thank you, Jonathan. Yes,I'm always on the look out for cool monsters, though it's sometimes difficult to catch a decent shot inside those dimly lit churches. Outside ornaments and the cloisters are better hunting grounds. :)

Thanks, Alianore and Carla. They're fun, aren't they?
 
Those are cool, Gabriele. I like the monsters. Do we know why they used monsters as a decoration?
 
I've seen them before, but never knew what they are called. Thanks, Gabriele.
 
Oh, I love the rabbit with the snake's tail!!!!
 
Shelley, they did in on the margins of manuscripts, too. Weird sense of humour, maybe. Look at that discussion between Willian and Jorge in The Name of the Rose.

Thank you, Barbara and Stag. I hope that one's not a plotbunny. :)
 
What a fantastic frieze - I love the monsters!
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction and Fantasy living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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