Tuesday, April 24, 2012


L'Arbre Sec or Dry Tree
Difficult to leave the subject of the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles without a word about this graceful enseigne or trade sign. Today its the signature piece for the wrought iron museum, but during the 16th or 17th centuries it served as a sign for a drapier or cloth merchant on la rue de l'Arbre Sec in Paris.

Why a tree to represent a maker and seller of sheets? According to museum information, because the finest fabrics came from the Middle East, cloth merchants used to allude to and identify themselves with legends from that part of the world. The tree here depicts an oak that went along on a pilgrimage to the valley of Jehoshaphat in the Holy Land. It supposedly had started growing at the beginning of the world on Lot's tomb, but dried up at the death of Christ, thus the name, l'Arbre Sec.

le fer forgé:  wrought iron
ferronnerie:  ironware, ironwork
un arbre:  a tree
sec (sèche):  dry

©2012 P.B. Lecron

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