Sunday, November 19, 2017


Red Baron has always been an admirer and supporter of the Freiburg Minster church and of its steeple, the most beautiful in the world (der schönste Turm der Welt) according to Jacob Burckhardt.

When I moved to Freiburg in 2001, I noticed that the Münsterbauverein (MBV, Minster Building Association) was not presented in the Internet. So I built their first homepage that was eventually replaced in 2012 by a more professional presentation, sic, made by professionals.

As renumeration, the MBV presented me with a slice of an original medieval pinnacle that I proudly present on my balcony.

Note the stonemason's mark

Last year the MBV invited their members to become more financially active by reviving the position of the medieval Münsterpfleger (Caretaker of the Minster).

Eventually I received the photo of my investiture as Münsterpfleger. Red Baron is wearing too small a cape that was only available for the photo shooting. The picture was taken on the fringe of the opening of an exhibition of gargoyles from the Minster church.

©Daniel Schoenen/MBV

Here are some highlights of the gargoyle exhibition. Gargoyles on medieval cathedrals like the woman with only one tooth are supposed to deter evil spirits. During the early Reformation, nuns left their convents and frequently married runaway monks, so the gargoyle got a special interpretation. The rumor spread that only nuns with teeth were allowed to marry. In this sense the water-spouting nun presents her only remaining tooth: Look, I am still available for marriage.

One tooth only
Aufhocker (crouchers) are a popular motif for gargoyles on medieval churches depicting people having nightmares. Humans or wild animals are crouching on people giving them bad dreams.

The oldest gargoyle at the Minster church dates from 1240
A billy goat crouching on a man as the symbol of lust (wet dreams?)
The sow as symbol of gluttony
Blecken, i.e., showing the butt
was a well known motif in the Middle Ages to deter evil spirits.
Nowadays the word blecken is used only in the combination of Zähne blecken:
A dog bares its teeth.

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