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  • The Stone of Oo: High Weirdness from Southern France May 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval , trackback

    pierre d'Oo

    Oô in southern France has two things going for it. First, that name, I mean what…?! And second the pierre d’Oô one of the weirdest objects to emerge the last three or four thousand years of human endeavour: a sculpture of a lady and her pet. At this point, readers should take a moment and just enjoy the jarring horror of the stone and try and work out for themselves what is going on. While you are thinking about this let’s get the coordinates down. The image is carved onto a three-foot marble stone presently kept at the Musée des Augustins de Toulouse: the marble is native to the Pyrenees so no shock there. A controversial question is the stone’s date. Some have suggested antiquity, some have suggested the Middle Ages and there have been mumblings about a modern fake: one of these is almost by definition correct, but which one? The consensus opinion is that the stone was part of the church of St Jacques in Oô that was built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries: but consensuses are so often wrong and isn’t this just a cunning scheme to smuggle the Cathars in, who were raising hell in this part of the world around then? Beach is reminded of Romano-British sculpture, but perhaps that is just the stone’s ‘primitiveness’? In any case, how refreshing to have a medium of communication where scholars seriously cannot date an artifact within two thousand years: it makes them almost human. As to the subject matter, there seems to be little doubt. This is a version of the bosom serpent recently described on this site: an animal that takes up residence in the human body entering by the mouth or the vagina. Here, though, there is a bonus. The snake has emerged from its home, as bosom serpents were wont to do when they needed to feed, and is suckling from the woman’s left breast: a motif that is found in medieval and ancient writing. If we discount the modern ‘fake’ theory there are perhaps two categories that we can hurl this monstrosity into. First, this is a typically compromised medieval Christian view of ‘woman’ (Eve carries a very heavy load); or we have some shiver-inducing ancient deity who may or may not be enjoying herself. In any case, not something to look at before you go to sleep. Any other thoughts on the ‘pierre d’Oô’? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    31 May 2015: EC writes in claiming that here we have the first image of a transexual…