I bet you didn’t see this one coming! We tend to associate gargoyles with the Gothic architecture of medieval Europe, but the idea of carving functional drain-spouts into the shapes of real or imagined creatures is not unique to Europe, Christianity, or the Middle Ages. Beijing’s Forbidden City, a treasure-trove of animal statuary in all forms, employs this entire row of gargoyles in its system of gutters. I’m not sure what sort of animal they are. If I had to guess, I would say pigs based on my brief research into depictions of animals in the Chinese zodiac, but they could easily be something else. In any case, I really enjoy their charismatic aesthetic.
Alexandra Kiely, aka A Scholarly Skater, is an art historian based in the northeastern United States. She loves wandering down the dark and dusty corners of art history and wholeheartedly believes in visual art's ability to enrich every person's life.
Her favorite periods of art history are 19th-century American painting and medieval European art and architecture. When she not looking at, reading about, writing about, or teaching art, she's probably ice dancing or reading.
View all posts by Alexandra Kiely (A Scholarly Skater)
One thought on “Gargoyle of the Day: Forbidden City, Beijing”