Log and brass tacks symbolism?

I was traveling in the Dordogne region of France this summer. The churches in Sarlat and the village of Saint-Julien-de-Lampon had large logs with brass tacks banged into them. They were clearly an offering, with a sign in the Saint Julien church indicating monies would go toward the upkeep of the church.

You can see the log in Sarlat in this picture from a blog I found in the lower right corner:

I’m wondering if anyone knows what the symbolism or the story behind the log and tacks are. The Crucifixion would seem to be obvious, but just doesn’t feel right to me and I suspect there’s another story.


From a travel website on the cathedral of St. Sacerdos in Sarlac:

Inside the church are two large sections of tree trunks, bright with hundreds of brass tacks, hammered in for a suggested donation of 1 euro apiece. This is a relatively new phenomenon in the region, dating to no more than the last ten years. In this area of France, nails are considered to be lucky, and it’s possible to by chocolate nails to give as a gift to new house owners, although it’s not known whether there is any older tradition associated with nail trees, and enquiries continue in this regard.


Thank you for finding that!

I tried really hard to figure this out on my own – I guess I should’ve tried some different keywords.

I figured it couldn’t be the Crucifixion. Nobody is going to pay a donation for the “privilege” of hammering a nail into Jesus, even figuratively. Ugh.


Yeah, when you put it that way that would be twisted.

I suspected it was some sort of regional/cultural thing, and nails being a sigh or wish for good luck in the region would fit that idea.

Hmm. I remember my dad had a saying of “let’s get down to brass tacks” and darn, I thought it might have had some relation to this. Guess not!

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