Friday, 10 August 2012
'Its laugh can only be wicked' is what the guidebook says of this human headed winged beast. Carlisle was a first stopping point on our holiday and we enjoyed these carvings in its Cathedral's choir stalls dating from about 1415.
Biblical scenes are always in a minority among such carvings, but this is St Michael (beautifully feathered as Mystery Play actors in this part often were) subduing the devil (taking the form of a dragon).
Mythical beasts are much more common, although this hyena may well be unique to Carlisle. Mediaeval 'beasteries' catalogue these creatures and the hyena is characterised in them as having a rigid back and a diet of human corpses.