Gallery of Grotesques: Sadistic monkeys

Manuscript B.11.22 is a book of hours from the 13th/14th century.  Described as ‘exquisitely written and ornamented, imperfect. Almost certainly of Flemish execution’, each image is accompanied by M.R. James’ description.

It all starts out innocently enough …

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Monkeys playing bowls. f. 5v
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Monkey turning a somersault. f. 7r

… but things takes a sinister turn

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Monkey and dog attack hare. f. 19r
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Fox dragged by the feet by monkey mounted on dog. f. 22r
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Monkey hangs hare by the ears. f. 42v
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Two monkeys with axes, whetting them? on square table. f. 63r
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Rabbits in a hill. Monkey approaches with axe. f. 137v

 

Find out more here about the depiction of monkeys or apes in medieval art.

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