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"The Theme of Cockfighting in Burgundian Romanesque Sculpture"
Ilene H. Forsyth
Speculum, 53:2, 1978, 252-282
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"Among the iconographic enigmas of Burgundian Romanesque sculpture, the subject of cockfighting is one of the most intriguing. Although rare, it can be seen at Autun, Saulieu, and Beaune. ... Exotic subjects such as enigmatic demons, grotesques, and fantastic semihuman forms, often of aggressive and violent character, are common enough in Romanesque church sculpture. As far as we know, most of these are fabulous and devoid of more than decorative or whimsical meaning. The cockfight scenes, however, cannot be so easily dismissed: they have dramatic immediacy and unusual naturalness; they appear to be based on the observation of thoroughly familiar and well-understood action; they seem rough and cruel rather than playful. Within a monastic or collegiate, context, the modern viewer finds them curious and distracting. If originally intended as allegories to convey serious religious ideas or moral precepts, their arcane meanings elude us. Still, the possibility of such allegorical meaning deserves exploration." - Forsyth

Language: English

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