Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wednesday afternoon in Paris, Part I - The Cluny

If you are new to this blog, I have been concentrating most of my recent entries on reconstructing my trip to France. Previous posts on that topic can be found here.

After my husband and I left Salle de Manger on Rue Mouffetard we walked to the Musée national du Moyen Age also known as the Cluny.

The building itself once housed the abbots of Cluny, and in its basement are vestiges of the Roman baths. The flamboyant gothic arches inside the building can be seen here:


However, I was not as concerned with architecture as I was with the holdings in the museum. First up were the accoutrements of war.

Behold, a shield and dagger.


Then helmets and a buckler.


The plain but utilitarian chain mail which was the armor used for centuries.


One of the nastiest artifacts of medieval warfare is a low tech landmine known as the chausse trape. There are four spikes and there will always be one sticking upwards. It will hurt if you or your horse step on it.

Just looking at it makes me go "owwwww."


In that same room was a beautiful tapestry on the wall from the 15th century featuring Wild Man of the Woods imagery. It is entitled Hommes et femmes sauvages dans un jardin.



The Cluny houses the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries in low light, but for me, I preferred the lesser known WMOTW to the popular licorne series.

I also enjoyed the various carved ivories.

Here is an intricately carved horn.


Book covers, most likely for a Bible.



A casket for valuables.


And check out this babe. She is hot.

She even has a satyr hanging around her skirts. She is a lot better looking than this image of Saint Paul that is from either the 6th or 7th century.

I do not know who they used as their contemporary model, but the prominent nose and belly does not create a particularly flattering portrait.

The Cluny also had a collection of ancient jewelry that is dazzling.

I love these Visigothic eagles. I would love to wear reproductions of these.

Here are some smaller pieces of jewelry.



This necklace reminds me of wealthy rap singers.

It looks really heavy and gaudy. Not something that suits my style.


However, I like these buckles.


Just when we think that our ways of life are new, visiting a museum can help ground us in the knowledge that no there are some cultural fashions that are far older than say the 1960s. Here we can see that tremendously large belt buckles has been around for a long time.



I imagine it would be heavy. It might also work to counteract the effects of the belt in holding up the pants. Similar to tool belts on plumbers.

Here is a beautiful belt ornament. Imagine how long it would have taken to make, and how much it cost.


Then there were impressive religious artifacts. I am in awe just looking at them.




We did not get very many good pictures from the Roman baths, and so I will conclude this long post with an image of Jupiter (AKA Zeus) that was found in the basement of the Cluny.



Next time I shall show you images from the Crypte Archaeologique underneath the courtyard of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Linda
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