In thethe Middle ages, an illustrated text called abestiary was used to teach moral lessons. People believed that all living things had meaning, reflecting the word of god, so a collection of animal pictures could be used to instruct people. The animals, and the lessons, were not always…consistent with reality. For example, beavers were hunted for their testicles (used to make medicines). A beaver will bite off its testicles, and throw them at a hunter, to escape capture. So, following this example, a man should cut off his vices and throw them at the devil.
In this image, you can see the poor critter with his balls in his mouth:
There’s a website, hosted by the University of Aberdeen, which has photos of the whole Aberdeen Bestiary. Yes, you can see all the creatures, and read the story for each one.
and press the button that says VIEW THE MANUSCRIPT
and you can read the whole thing! The first few are about the creation, but you can swipe right along to the animals.
There’s another website, The Medieval Bestiary, which lists the animals alphabetically. Click on the name of an animal, and get a picture of the animal, information (real or imagined) and the moral of the story. Go to http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beastalphashort.htm
Now, before I start my whole explanation of how I made this tablet, why don't we just take a quick look at some of the beasts?
Look - cats! With the moral lesson that we should not be watching so many silly videos...
This is one of the most realistic images of elephants found in any beastiary. Most of them look like horses with hoses.
I love the expression on his face.
This fellow is a banacon. His horns curve inward, so he cannot harm others, but he sprays shit on his hunters.
This little guy is one of my favorites. Think about it - if you had never seen a turtle, but you were trying to draw one based on somebody's (possibly second-hand) description, wouldn't it look like this?
OK, so the next post will show my beastiary tablet.