Tearing your hair out this week? Contemplating pulling the hair of another? Don't do it! Explore a work of art instead!
This carved stone corbel, which once supported the overhanging roof of a French church, shows interlocking figures of different sizes pulling each other's long hair and beards. Hair- and beard-pullers were popular subjects of medieval art. Though their significance is not always clear today, as with many examples of medieval body language, the gesture may allude to an inner state of being - in this case, emotional turmoil or spiritual anguish.
Corbel with Five Interlaced Hair-Pulling Acrobats, France, ca. 1150–1200. Limestone. 34.21.2. #MetCloisters #MetAnywhere #MedievalArt #Sculpture #Beards #France
[image description: A stone block is carved with one larger central figure flanked by four smaller figures, two on each side. The figures pull long strands of each other's hair as well as the long beard of the largest figure. Slide 2 is a close up of the figures.]