misericords

misericords
   Wooden relief carvings in Gothic churches that decorate the undersides of seating ledges provided for clergy during services. Misericords often portray biblical scenes, but many have secular subjects. A great many are grotesque, fantastic, and witty. In England, exemplars are often cited at the cathedrals of Ely, Exeter, Wells, and Lincoln. The word is derived from the Latin word misericordia, which means mercy or pity. A misericord, then, is an expression of God's mercy for the exhausted clergyman who would otherwise have to stand.

Glossary of Art Terms. 2014.

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