GLASGOW is one of the champion cities for Victorian and Edwardian gargoyles and other sculptures.
Not surprisingly for a city with an architectural history as rich as Glasgow's, there are literally thousands of statues, grotesques and other figures, with the greatest concentrations in the city centre and West End.
Common elements include St Mungo's bell, trees, birds and fish.
An insurance company's building on Bothwell Street spells out the owners' name using symbols: a lion rampant (Scottish), a judge's wig (Legal), a fountain (Life) and a castle (Assurance).
In mythology, griffons were guardians of treasure, and today we find them hovering protectively above the former Stock Exchange building on Nelson Mandela Place.
Other unusual sculptures to look out for are an Egyptian Pharaoh and a Native American chief (Bothwell Street), a bust of Beethoven (Renfrew Street), Pan, the Greek god of nature (Bellgrove Street), the Statue of Liberty (Queen's Drive), a miniature Viking longboat (St Vincent Place) and a pair of bewigged judges (Hope Street).
Most of these sculptures, of course, go un-noticed by passers-by every single day. But sometimes, a figure can make the headlines.
In 2002 a suspended bronze figure in the New Gorbals called the Gatekeeper, above left, developed a reddish stain on the palm of its outstretched hand, said to be similar to the marks of the wounds of Christ.
Inevitably, the phenomenon attracted quasi-religious interpretations, and the sculpture on Caledonia Road was dubbed 'the angel' – even though it didn't have wings.
The sculpture's creator, artist Matt Baker, thought that a steel pin had accidentally been left in the hand, and had become rusted by dripping water. The stain has now almost vanished.
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