Mauriac (Cantal)

Basilique Notre Dame des Miracles

Corbel of a beast (somewhere between a bear and a dog) in an Ouroboros-position of auto-fellatio.

photo by Tina Negus

Might this be related to the enigmatic image of the column-swallower ?

Compare with a more florid self-fellating beast at Chauvigny (Vienne)...

...with a human self-fellater at Maillezais (Deux-Sèvres)...

...and with the acrobat at Lussac-et-Nontronneau (Dordogne).

Might the evil Ourobolos not be the source of the contumely visited upon acrobats
- as acting, like homosexuals, 'against nature' - in Romanesque times ?


A classic serpentine Ouroboros, solarised from the illustration in an alchemical tract entitled Synosius (1478)
by Theodoros Pelekanos.

It seems to me that the origin of the Ourobolos idea/image was the paradisal fantasy of male sexual fulfilment
and sexual regeneration through auto-fellatio.

The Christian mythological view of the serpent would, in any case, make it an image of carnal sin.

In his Timæus, Plato described a self-sucking, circular being as the first living thing in the universe -
an immortal, primordial, perfectly independent being.

"The living being had no need of eyes when there was nothing remaining outside him to be seen;
nor of ears when there was nothing to be heard; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed;
nor would there have been any use of organs by the help of which he might receive his food
or get rid of what he had already digested, since there was nothing which went from him or came into him: for there was nothing beside him.

Of design he was created thus, his own waste providing his own food, and all that he did or suffered taking place in and by himself.
For the Creator conceived that a being which was self-sufficient would be far more excellent than one which lacked anything;
and, as he had no need to take anything or defend himself against any one,
the Creator did not think it necessary to bestow upon him hands: nor had he any need of feet,
nor of the whole apparatus of walking; but the movement suited to his circular form was assigned to him,
being of all the seven that which is most appropriate to mind and intelligence;
and he was made to move in the same manner and on the same spot, within his own limits revolving in a circle.

All the other six motions were taken away from him, and he was made not to partake of their deviations.
And as this circular movement required no feet, the Universe was created without legs and without feet."


A pair of males ?


These eight pictures of corbels at Mauriac
were taken in 2007 by
Jacques Martin.

Other churches in the départment of the Cantal have similar corbels, notably
Anglards de Salers...

photograph by Tina Negus





and Saignes (almost all photographed by Jacques Martin).

A simian exhibitionist in the same département, however, seems to have been carved by an entirely different team or 'school'.