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Lot 1016* - A206 Decorative Arts - Thursday, 21. September 2023, 10.00 AM


Probably France or Germany, 14th century.
Sandstone. Octagonal cornice tapering towards the bottom and carved in relief with four figures. Depicting two saints with open books in their laps (probably representing a virtue) and a man with a drinking jug chased by a monkey (probably representing a vice).
67 × 67 × 46 cm.

Somewhat weathered and various chips.

- Marc-Arthur Kohn, vente aux enchères publiques, November 13, 1988, lot 136.
- Private collection Switzerland, acquired at the above auction.

The unusual iconography of a monkey in architecture is read in Christian symbolism as a symbol of evil or satire. Already the "Physiologus" (collection of medieval texts on animal symbolism) reads in the monkey an image of the devil (Cf. Friedrich Wilhelm, 1914, No. 7a). In the architecture and sculpture in the German area, the monkey is found in various areas, so for example at the galleries of the cathedral of Worms, at the west porch of the cathedral of Magdeburg or at the gargoyle console at the cathedral of Freiburg. In the French-speaking world, the monkey is caricatured as an idol, as illustrated by the cathedrals of Paris, Amiens, and Chartres. (Cf. E. P. Evans, "Animal Symbolism in Ecclesiastical Architecture," London 1896./ Oswald A. Erich, "The Representation of the Devil in Christian Art," vol. 8, Berlin, 1931.)

CHF 4 000 / 5 000 | (€ 4 120 / 5 150)