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Aulnay de Saintonge Church: South Portal: Donkey Playing a Harp

South Portal: Donkey Playing a Harp

The outer archivolt of the south portal is the most interesting of the four, densely populated with mythical beasts and hybrid creatures. Many derive from the medieval Bestiary, in which real and mythical animals were given symbolic and moral meanings. Among the parade of characters is a siren, a sphinx, an owl and a donkey playing a harp. The figures generally face away from the center and each one is carved on a separate stone that supports the arch.

Credit: Holly Hayes