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Open Access

Choir Stall

Artist: Unknown French Artist Primary
Date: 1401-1500
15th century
Dimensions: 41.5 x 30.5 x 21.5 in. (105.41 x 77.47 x 54.61 cm)
Object Type: Furnishings & Equipment
Creation Place: Europe, France
Medium and Support: Oak
Credit Line: Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection, 1936 (36.79.1)
Accession Number: L2010.01.16
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries

Choir stalls, despite their name, are not associated with music – they were located in the choir area of a church (in front of the altar), where the clergy worshipped. During the Medieval period, priests and monks were required to attend numerous daily masses and prayer services, and had to stand for long periods. The choir stall, also called a misericord, allowed clergy to lean on the shelf under the seat to alleviate the physical stress of being on their feet for such long periods. On the undersides of the shelves, artists carved images that included animals (such as the vegetal ornament here) and dog (as seen on the other choir stall). These carvings would not have been visible to the public. The subjects were usually secular, and may have had allegorical meanings. Dogs are a common symbol of fidelity during this time period, and foliage can represent growth.


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Furnishings and Equipment
The Furnishings and Equipment hierarchy contains terms for objects that are primarily movable that provide comfort, convenience, or protection in dwellings, places or business, or other public or private spaces. They may be useful or ornamental and may be used in indoor or outdoor spaces. Regarding other Hierarchies: Terms for objects with the primary purpose of storage receptacles or other forms of container (e.g., "candle boxes," "footlockers") are in the Containers hierarchy.
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Refers to the world religion and culture that developed in the first century CE, driven by the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Its roots are in the Judaic tradition and the Old Testament. The tenets include a belief in the death and redemptive resurrection of Jesus. The religion incorporates a tradition of faith, ritual, and a form of church authority or leadership.
Refers to the period beginning in the Christianized Roman Empire in the fifth century and lasting until the Renaissance, which began in the 13th to the 15th century CE, depending upon which country is being discussed. The variety of styles that developed during the Medieval period are generally characterized by an evolution of the Greco-Roman tradition to incorporate Christian themes, the energetic spirit of the Celtic and Germanic peoples, and the thriving new towns populated by free men.
Movable or fixed objects or equipment, which may be either functional or ornamental, particularly objects for sitting, reclining, or storage, such as chairs, beds, tables, cabinets, etc., in a dwelling, business, or public space.

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Portfolio List

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