[Sca-cooks] OT: Mystery Object

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Wed Jul 15 13:02:46 PDT 2009

For Europe, "sweeping out the old year" is primarily a custom in the north 
of England where the fires are extinguished and the chimneys swept.  I 
believe it is also Chinese custom to sweep out the bad luck of the old year 
on the Chinese New Year.

As for the figure, it looks to me as if he has a hurley resting on his 
shoulder and a ball in his left hand.  Of course, this being a medieval 
church decoration, it should have some relationship to the Bible or the 


----- Original Message ----- 

Following the theme of "what is it" questions we've had lately, I'm trying 
to figure out this image from the Church of St. Lazare at Autun.


The one I'm looking at is the enlargement labeled L1 with the caption "What 
did he do?"

This is part of a series of images showing the signs of the zodiac and 
labors of the months over the main entrance to the church. This image comes 
at the beginning of the sequence and is followed by images that are 
typically used to identify the start of the year.

Any ideas what the lefthand figure is holding over his shoulder? It just 
occurred to me that it might be a broom for "sweeping out the old year" but 
I don't know if that's a medieval concept.

This probably isn't food-related, but the folks on this list have such great 
breadth of knowledge, I thought it couldn't hurt to ask!

Many thanks,


More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list