Five devils and a cowhide on Reichenau Island

Tagged , , ,

Fresco of devils and a cowhide at St George's Basilica

Inside St George’s Basilica on Reichenau Island there is a very special 14th century fresco. A devil is writing something on a cowhide hold by four devils. This is a reference to the German saying Das geht auf keine Kuhhaut (That doesn’t fit on a cowhide).

The origins of this saying is the belief that the devil would write all our sins on a cowhide. Well, for some sinners one cowhide wouldn’t be enough. What is the devil actually writing on this fresco? He writes something about the blah-blah women love to speak. Mind the two ladies on top of the cowhide!

About the aim of this fresco right on its prominent position next to the altar I’ve heard two different stories: One talks about a warning for women not to gabble during the mass, another interpretation says it should remind the priest not to use the same blah-blah in his preachment.

Sources / More info