Mr. Taggy - Killer rabbits in medieval manuscripts
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2 colour screenprint with hand-finishing
Unique signed 1/1
320gsm Fedrigoni paper
Print: 70 x 70cm
In all the kingdom of nature, does any creature threaten us less than the gentle rabbit? Though the question may sound entirely rhetorical today, our medieval ancestors took it more seriously — especially if they could read illuminated manuscripts, and even more so if they drew in the margins of those manuscripts themselves.
Often, in medieval manuscripts’ marginalia we find odd images with all sorts of monsters, half man-beasts, monkeys, and more, Even in religious books the margins sometimes have drawings that simply are making fun of monks, nuns and bishops. And then there are the killer bunnies. Hunting scenes, also commonly appear in medieval marginalia, and "this usually means that the bunny is the hunted; however, as we discovered, often the illuminators decided to change the roles around. The usual imagery of the rabbit in Medieval art is that of purity and helplessness – that’s why some Medieval portrayals of Christ have marginal art portraying a veritable petting zoo of innocent, nonviolent, little white and brown bunnies going about their business in a field.
One historical question remains unanswered: to what extent did they influence that pillar of modern cinematic comedy, Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
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