What in this fearsome visage appeals to us? What virtue can this otherwise uncouth and generally suspect creature inform?
Raw, fiercely bearded aggression, not so much carved as inflicted by the chisel. Common humor claims that whole figures are carved, then sundered to the bust, the limbs used to beat the form from the next sculptor’s block. Examples are common and deliberately crude—none claim to be an accurate representation of a specific person and the name is irrelevant, often stolen from the fears of the day.
So if it is not the honoring of a villain turned folk hero, what is left to discern? What does this say about the manners of court, that beneath is an affectation for such unfettered and brutal images of strength. What is hidden by this beard?
—Musings on a Form: The Beast, as collected by Jun Emond, Esr.