About “Gargoyles” on massive gothic architecture in the West.

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In the West, rain spouts called Gargoyles exist. The origin is from the French word gargouille. It means “throat”, perhaps being named for the fact that it sticks out from the buildings and its function is to drain rain water.

 

They are often a part of large cathedrals, and they are usually fantastic animals made of stone. It has been written that although it is used on large churches, they are not religious in meaning but are functioning ornamental rain spouts.

 

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Rain chains would be Japan’s equivalent of decorative spouts that incorporate rain water, but stone is rarely used in Japanese architecture, and instead wood or thatches are used, as well as fired material such as Japanese roof tiles. Perhaps this aspect of cultural difference in architecture prevented Japan from stone-made decorative spouts such as Gargoyles.

 

Attempts have been made to stylize rain spouts around the world and each country’s architectural culture had a great impact on the type of rain spouts such as “Gargoyles” or our Japanese rain chains, both having highly stylized form while incorporating rain water.