Protection and Property

Protection and Property: Apotropaic Marks on Rural Andorran Buildings (2023)

Around the Pyrenees the act of carving symbols on rural buildings is an ancient one, both to protect the building and to distinguish the owner. In Andorra there are several surviving examples of this on barns, village houses and outbuildings. However, due to their age many of these doors are being replaced or renovated.

The ‘Protection & Property’ project has surveyed over three hundred buildings in Andorra and discovered seventy that possess protection symbols and family marks. From this data set a monograph has been written using comparative examples from across the Pyrenees to explore their potential meanings, as well as identifying which marked buildings traditionally belonged to which Andorran families. This will become the first volume in a monograph series for Mons Culturae Press, which will deal with highly focussed subjects relating to Pyrenean traditions and culture.

Already it has become apparent that many buildings have fresh new doors, lintels and frames, and who knows what marks may have been lost. Before these relics of Andorran and Pyrenean folk-culture vanish from the landscape, this project will create a valuable ethnographic archive of fortune and family symbols from the region.

Below you can find some examples of the forty photographs taken by the author and present in the monograph.

This monograph is now available to purchase, please see the details on the ‘Mons Culturae Press’ section of this website.

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