What is a Gargoyle?

   A gargoyle is a waterspout, carved in the form of a grotesque or mythical creature. Gargoyles were placed along the edge of a roof, and rainwater, spouting from their mouths, was carried clear of the walls of the building. A particular feature of Gothic architecture, gargoyles are found on many medieval churches. The grotesque mouths and throats symbolize man's ugliness and brute force just as the carved statues of the saints symbolize his beauty and moral strength. The attitudes and expressions of these figures are sometimes comic as well as hideous or fantastic. The dragon was an expecially popular type of gargoyle in Gothic stonework.
   In modern buildings the gargoyle is added as a purely decorative fig­ure, since it no longer has practical value.

Grotesque art