The typical depiction of a rabbit, especially when used in Medieval art and literature, is an image of purity and innocence—a harmless puff of cuddly cuteness. Another common association with the rabbit is that of fertility, a sensical comparison when one is aware of the speed at which the species copulates. In some medieval illuminated manuscripts however, the illustration of a rabbit turns from harmless to violent, with several examples showcasing the formerly innocent creature in the act of decapitation and other sword-wielding wrongdoings.
A way to analyze these drolleries, or medieval margin illustrations, is to think about the violent role reversals as humorous symbolism. Because these animals were so low on the totem pole of fear, it was quite amusing to the medieval illustrator to draw them enacting a revenge—silly animals on the opposite side of the slaughtering. This was also a way for the artist to show the stupidity of the human who was the object of the rabbits’ anger, one who was foolish enough to be bludgeoned by bunny.
If all of this is hitting a little too close to Monty Python and the Holy Grail for you, read this comparison by Sexy Codicology between the historical illustrations and the film. Oh, and of course watch the killer bunny scene to see a modern day take on these vengeful rabbits. (via Jon Kaneko-James and Neatorama)
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Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, known for his large scale installations of animal characters, recently unveiled his latest work. Located at the Dayuan Town Naval Base in Taiwan, “Moon Rabbit” is an enormous yet adorable bunny that’s propped up against a grassy military bunker gazing up at the moon. To create the large-scale work, which is based on the East Asian folklore about a rabbit that lives on the moon, Hofman first created a wood and Styrofoam frame. And to achieve the fluffiness but also keep it weather-resistant the artist used over 12,000 sheets of Tyvek paper, a material normally reserved for home builders. Unfortunately, the bunny caught fire earlier today as workers were trying to disassemble it. But its counterpart can still be seen on the moon, or at least that’s how the story goes. (via Street Art News)
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