The Magnet #69: Things I've Seen in France, Part 3
Rude carving, monstrous tapestry, Chris Ware, tiki insect, and Carcassone's weird stripes
This is my third and final post about my trip to France. I could go on but there are other subjects I want to cover in upcoming issues.
La Maison d'Adam (Adam’s House)
La Maison d’Adam (Adam’s House) is a 15th-century timber-framed house in downtown Angers. The house is adorned with carved wooden animals, religious figures, and mythical beasts. The most memorable character is known as the “tricouillard,” a gentleman with a defiant expression who is lifting his breeches to present his genitals to those looking up at him. No one seems to be sure why the homeowner included this carving, but our guide speculated that they didn’t like their neighbor and wanted to give them something unpleasant to look at. Before renovations in 1814, the characters were colorfully painted, which would have made the tricouillard even more grotesque.
Tapestry of the Apocalypse
The Book of Revelation, the Bible’s story of the end times, contains many monsters and strange creatures, including the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, the seven angels with seven trumpets, the dragon, the end times beast, beast of the earth, the false prophet, the 144,000 sealed servants of God, locusts, the woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head, the angel with the key to the bottomless pit, the angel with the seven-sealed scroll, and the Lamb of God. It also describes famines, pestilences, wars, earthquakes, and various natural disasters that will occur during the end times.
These characters and events are brought to life in the Apocalypse Tapestry commissioned in 1373 by Louis I, Duke of Anjou. It’s on display at the Chateau d’Angers and is considered one of Frances’s greatest treasures. It contains 90 different scenes from the Book of Revelation and stretches for 459 feet. Carla and I spent an hour in the dark cavernous room gawking at the tapestry. Hardly anyone else was in there, which added to the thrill.
Here’s a good video about the tapestry from Google France. (Use the closed captioning to read English subtitles.)