Illustrated Architecture Dictionary ...................... Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Grotesque (Grottesque)
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Art chracterized by an incongruous mixture of parts of humans and animals interwoven with plants.

Grotesques are often confused with gargoyles, but the distinction is that gargoyles are figures that contain a water spout through the mouth, while grotesques do not.

Popular in the Renaissance, lincluding  Mannerism.

Chinese Protection Figures

A row of mythical animal figures was placed on the tails of the ridges at the four corners. These ridge beasts were called 'crouching beasts' in Chinese and most of them were from Chinese fairy tales.

They not only played a decorative role, but also highlighted Chinese beliefs. Ancient Chinese people believed that these mythical ridge beasts on the roofs would prevent fire and drive away demons.

The size and number of ridge beasts symbolized the rank and luxuriousness of the building. As the grade of a building reduced, the ridge beasts decreased accordingly.
- China Hiuhlights, Traditional Chinese Roofs — China’s Roof Architecture (online January 2020)

Cf., Chinese ceramic protection figures:

Examples from Buffalo:

Othr examples:

Photos and their arrangement © 2006 Chuck LaChiusa
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