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Book of Beasts - The Bestiary in the Medieval World


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Brimming with lively animals both real and fantastic, the bestiary was one of the great illuminated manuscript traditions of the Middle Ages. Encompassing imaginary creatures, such as the unicorn, siren and griffin; exotic beasts, including the tiger, elephant and ape; as well as animals native to Europe, like the beaver, dog and hedgehog, the bestiary is a vibrant testimony to the medieval understanding of animals and their role in the world. So iconic were the stories and images of the bestiary that its beasts essentially escaped from the pages, appearing in a wide variety of manuscripts and other objects, including tapestries, ivories, metalwork and sculpture.

With over 270 colour illustrations and contributions by twenty-five leading medieval scholars, this gorgeous volume explores the bestiary and its widespread influence on medieval art and culture as well as on modern and contemporary artists like Pablo Picasso and Damien Hirst.

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