Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Medieval animal symbolism

Medieval animals. From

¨Ancient literature “ascribed to certain animals, whether fabulous or real…a certain connection with the life and actions of man…and made a corresponding religious use of them.” In Medieval times, this type of animal symbolism “is derived for the most part from the ‘bestiaries.’ Thus, for the lion, strength, vigilance, and courage…for the pelican, charity.” These symbolic animals were thoroughly integrated into the mnemonic system because using an animal symbol “affords an easy medium of expressing or symbolizing a virtue or a vice, by means of the virtue or vice usually attributed to the animal represented.”
For example, “the unicorn…embodies a moral truth [that is] allegorical, or analogical..., the idea that chastity is a noble virtue,and “griffins were just as real as lions because, like them, they were signs of a higher truth.”
France, Poitou-Charentes, Vienne (86) , Poitiers, Notre-Dame La Grande church. From
From Beasts and Buildings -Religious Symbolism and Medieval Memory. By Brendan P. Newlon

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