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BNF site François Mitterand
Bestiaire Médiéval

BNF Site François Mitterand, until 8 january 2006.

bestiaire medieval bnf paris
The animals were the social mirror of the medieval society : An excellent way of representing without clash the forces and weaknesses of the human people.  The Historial Mirror of Vincent de Beauvais composed between 1459 and 1463 shows us a lion symbolizing pride, greediness is made up under the features of a bear, the idleness becomes a donkey. The animals are represented thus everywhere, in the armorial bearings of the families or the cities, in the tapestries, let us remember the Lady to the Unicorn.  The BNF opens to us some ones of these treasures "zoomorphiques". Bibles, very scientific treaties of fauconnery and of course Romance of Renart without neglecting celebrates books of hunting, essential in the social life of the time.  Noah's Ark is the starting point of this immense tale.  In these moved back times, all the animals are not known and the reproductions of the rare travelers deform the visions in their lending marvelous phantasms.  Thus are born the imaginary animals, the crowned white stag, becomes royal.  Ostriches, elephants, panthers adorn sometimes curious dresses.  When with the characteristics of the animals themselves, tail, manes, claws, teeth, language, they equip the heraldic scene for better symbolizing the ambitions of the families.  The oldest zoo of the world sleeps on parchment...

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