When we think of rabbits we often think of them as furry, cute and harmless animals, however, that’s not the case in these medieval illustrations.
At an attempt at humorous symbolism, medieval illustrations showcase these gentle animals as something more sinister directly because of their gentle nature.
In these manuscripts, rabbits are depicted as violent in nature yielding swords and slaying enemies.
Artists found it amusing and showed the stupidity of those on the receiving end of the rabbit’s anger because of their innocent nature.
According to writer Jon Kaneko-James, “In medieval manuscripts the image of the rabbit’s revenge is often used to show the cowardice or stupidity of the person illustrated. We see this in the Middle English nickname Stickhare, a name for cowards, and if the we take a look at the Poke list, we’ll see a lot of tough hunters cowering in the face of rabbits with big sticks.”
“In the 13th century epic Roman de Renart we even have the character Coward, who is a hare, capturing an armed man who drops his sword at the sight of him and ends up being dangled from a stick.”
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