Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 5.

British Library Additional 14761 f. 30v  
c. 1340 Spain, N. E., Catalonia (Barcelona)
I was surfing the British Library's manuscript collection again for possible pictures to use on a scroll and noticed the cute bunnies in the manuscripts. Especially in the 14th century. So many, they weirdly multiplied like rabbits. 

But another thing you'll notice is how peculiarly violent some are. Beyond the pure and helpless ones, there are perplexing bunny revenge pictures.  Marginalia with bunnies attacking dogs, shooting arrows at humans, jousting at knights or simply thumbing their bunny-nose at authority. Seems like wishful thinking on the bunny's part. 

But an attacking illumination bunny may illustrate the person in the story is a coward, stupid or as meek as a lamb. Or the bunny may be warning you that "what comes around, goes around" and may bite you in the end. There are many ways you can interpret the images. 

British Library’s Royal MS 10 E IV
It is strange to me why a Medieval scribe would excruciatingly detail pictures in a manuscript then bizarrely include weird, crude bunny and other images in the near-by margins. Though perplexing the revenge bunnies do amuse me as they probably did the Medieval reader too. 

But be careful which bunny images you choose to use in your scroll as their meaning may be construed as different than what they appear to show.  For Medieval scribes, the margins were a safe space where they could critique and question society. Is that what you want to do?

So next time you're curiously surfing the internet for scroll inspiration see what you find Medieval bunnies doing, perplexing though they may be.

Related Prior Post:
You can see others in my series Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts: 1, 2, 3, 4.