Saturday, July 13, 2013

Three Sites in Norwich

I. The Anglo-Norman Cathedral

The cathedral is set into a small park-like compound called a close; you enter through this gate.



The guys on the right are the only ones I saw in the whole church who had been beheaded; but I don't know the iconography well enough to know who they are or why someone would have objected to them.

Some cloister graffiti: "Pray."

II. The Norwich Castle Keep

The fortified keep is all that is left of the tenth-century Norwich castle. Most of what remains, though, dates to the twelfth century and forwards. The keep is where the Jews of Norwich hid out (unsuccessfully) seeking protection from the blood-libel blood-thirst of 1190. The site, on a hilltop and fortified, is somewhat less defensible since the addition of the glass elevator.

The castle is presented nicely as a sort of local children's museum, as far as that goes, so it was a bit unsatisfying.

Oddly, this recreation of the garderobes (medieval Anglo-norman toilets) was supplemented by a soundtrack of flushing noises. SOS! Anachronism! 

This is some of the iconography that has survived from the altar in the king's chapel:

This second image is a little bit hard to read, so there is also a line drawing:

I also visited the dungeon for a demonstration of the medieval torture devices. On the left, the guide strapped a boy into a dunking chair. You'll recognize that from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The yoke on the bottom left was a device designed to force women into a prayer position (hands clasped in front of face) to inspire them to repeant. Head went through the the large loop and hands into the smaller loops in the middle. Weights could be added to the bottom end so that the prisoner would be forced to kneel. Rather a different model of inspiring prisoner penitence than at Eastern State
Stocks, whipping post and associated hardware.

III. The Orientalist's Feverish Nightmare (properly known as the South Asian Art and Design Center and Oriental Bazaar, housed in the old Victorian-era skating rink)

I have no explanation for this whatsoever.

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