Home.
Introduction.
Animals.
Buildings.
Lines.
People.
Plants.
Shapes.
Symbols.
Transport.
Conclusion.
Index.
Contact.
WAYSIDE ART IN EAST ANGLIA

PLANTS

THE GRAPEVINE

This lychgate at Kersey in Suffolk has beautifully carved vines and birds on its gable ends.

Above:  Bench-end of choir stalls in Clare Church in Suffolk made from black oak and dating possibly from the early sixteen hundreds.

Grapes have been used a lot as motifs over the centuries, and frequently in a symbolic way.  In some instances they have represented revelry and at other times blood and sacrifice.  To the Israelites grapes symbolized the promise of a new life after they were brought back from the Promised Land.  According to the New Testament Jesus said ‘I am the vine’ and so the vine has also come to represent Jesus in many of our churches.

The vine-scroll

 

Historically, the vine-scroll has been one of the most prolific subjects to be used as an ornament.  It was used by the Egyptians, spread to the Near East and was taken up by Greek artists in the sixth century BC.  When the Romans adopted it, it spread with them around the Mediterranean and Western Europe.  It also spread to India and the Far East.  The vine-scroll was used a great deal in the Islamic world.  Because Moslems were prohibited from using figures in their art, they embraced non-figurative subjects with gusto.  In Islamic art the vine-scroll has a long and complex history.  The Moslems developed intricate patterns using the vine as a motif and these evolved into the style known as arabesque with its delicate stems and simplified leaves.  No other pattern type has had such versatility, longevity or geographical  spread.

Above:  A trade sign with grapes on a vine at Hingham in Norfolk.

Stained glass window decorated with vines at Roydon Church in Nofolk.

Stained glass window with vine motifs in repeat pattern at Eye Church in Suffolk.

PREVIOUS PAGE

ON FLOWERS AND LEAVES

NEXT PAGE

ON PARGETING

Carving in wood depicting a grape vine on the rood screen in Beeston Regis Church in Norfolk. It dates from around 1480.