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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Exeter Cathedral - The Catheral of the one thousand faces

One aspect of Exeter Cathedral is particularly amazing: thousands of faces are looking to you from the ceiling and from the vaults, in the chapels and from arches, everywhere faces are looking at you.

Exeter is one of the most famous Cathedrals in Europe.

After having visited Salisbury the Cathedral of Light, we continue our travel in England visiting the Cathedral of the thousands faces.

Why Exeter Cathedral is the Cathedral of the one thousand faces?

Exeter Cathedral is one of the most beautiful Cathedral in the world and its beauty is evident in many different aspects.

The wonderful architecture perfectly express the Norman English style.

It is amazing because it is extremely rare to be able to visit a church that had only marginal changes during the centuries and it still express today the Norman English Style of the XIII Century.

But one aspect is particularly amazing: thousands of faces are looking to you from the ceiling and from the vaults, in the chapels and from arches, everywhere faces are looking at you.


               Some of the faces in Exeter  are green men (or green women).

Faces in the bosses (and what are the bosses?):

Enter in Exeter Cathedral and turn your eyes towards to the ceilings.

The round stones at the center of the vaults are called bosses. More then 400 bosses decorate the vaults of the Cathedral, each one different from the others, and most of them representing human faces.

What are the faces in the bosses?

Some of the faces are representation of people of the time, but most them are green men (or green women).

What is a green man?

The Green Man is a sculpture (or a drawing, or other representation) of a face surrounded by or made from leaves.

The Green Man is a sculpture (or a drawing, or other representation) of
a face surrounded by or made from leaves.
Branches or vines sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament, Green Men are frequently found in carvings on both secular and ecclesiastical buildings.

But Exter Cathedral have more rare faces to be seen. And much more scary too...

Many memento mori are sculptured all around the church.

Some of them are more scaring than others!


What is a memento mori?

An example of  Memento Mori in n Exeter Cathedral
In Exeter Cathedral, Memento Mori are sculptured representing the death, most of them represent human bodies of people dieing or already dead.

These statues were built to remember to everyone that the death is unavoidable and would come for everyone.

The representations are quite scary, mainly the idea is to scary the people remembering that one day they, have to die, and not look forward to it...

Memento mori is Latin and literally means: remember: you have to die!



Is it that all?

Take a look just above the pillars in the nave.
Not at all look again on the ceiling when you enter in the church and you will see a decapitation taking place. It is the decapitation of Samuel Beckett.

And finally take a look just above the pillars in the nave: elaborate carvings known as corbels contain more weird faces watching you.

Exeter Cathedral is certainly one of the most amazing cathedrals in the world, but I bet you would not find another Cathedral with more faces in it!


This post has been made thanks to the great hospitality and support of Becky from Exeter!



Do you want to visit another majestic Cathedral in England?

Read about Salisbury Cathedral: The Cathedral of light




Do you want to read more about England?

Browse on my page Visit England for many more destinations



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