monsters, animals, humanoids, which in some cases are wrapped with lust, creating terrifying sets.
The ornamental carved figures on this Silk Exchange of Valencia show messages of curious content.
The recently restoration work left all the details covered by the consequences of time more visible to the passersby.
"Merchants Exchange," as it is also known, is a magnificent secular monument declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931 and World Heritage Monument on 7th December 1996, which contains 28 artistic gargoyles and various ornaments in windows, corners, facades that decorate and enrich this splendid and emblematic work of the fifteenth century.
These Gothic gargoyles are drains to remove the rainfall water accumulated on the roofs.
They are the work of the "pedrapiquers" craft workshop, led by the maestro Pere Compte, especially those located in the upper part of the building, since the rest, situated on the Consolat del Mar, are from about fifty years later.
They represent the iconographical statement of this property and make reference to this medieval world, inspired by superstitions, winding tales filled with rawness and sinful customs. Are they by any chance a satire on religion, deceit and lust, similar to the burlesque expression shown in the fallas, although these are made in the Middle Ages, of stone and forever?
Some believe that it was meant to show the sin, expelling it outside the buildings (especially the religious ones), showing them in this way to the people, who cannot read, just as the Romanesque transmitted the religion through its expressive fresco paintings.
How much fun must these great and roguish stonemasons have had while carving!
It is worth admiring them in detail.
I invite you to see them!
LOCATION OF THE 28 GARGOYLES
|Nº1 An angelic being puts his penis in a jar|
|Nº2 A hairy man catches a reptile with his left hand.|
|Nº9 A fierce animal carries two humans in its thighs.|
|Nº10 Hairy man carrying a jar in his hands.|
|Nº14 A woman has a monkey on her lap.|
|Nº15 A humanoid hugs a reptile.|
|Nº16 A chained monkey playing a drum|
|Nº17 A winged ram with reptilian body and two vertical udders.|
|Nº18 A soldier has in his left hand a snail.|
|Nº20 A lion has a prey between its claws.|
|Nº23 An angel sings and plays a musical stringed instrument.|
|Nº24 A monster with scales, wings and a human face (damaged).|
|Nº26 An eagle has a bat in its claws|
|Nº27 A man is bitten by a strange animal.|
|In this gargoyle Nr. 28 we can see the conduit to expel the accumulated water for rain on their roofs.|
Photographs by the author.
Manolo Ambou Terradez