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Leaf from a Book of Hours: Ape Hunting Wild Boars (recto) and Ape Fishing (verso)

Leaf from a Book of Hours: Ape Hunting Wild Boars (recto) and Ape Fishing (verso)

c. 1500-1510

Part of a set. See all set records

Ink, tempera and liquid gold on vellum

Each leaf: 18.1 x 12.9 cm (7 1/8 x 5 1/16 in.)

The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2006.13

Fun Fact

The ape and the wild boar symbolized vice in general and lust in particular during the Middle Ages.

Description

The litany of the saints is among the most ancient and emotional Christian liturgical texts, dating in the West to at least the AD 400s. In a book of hours, the litanies is a list of saints’ names expressed in hierarchical order and individual rank. These names were recited rhythmically as invocations, followed each time by Ora pro nobis (Pray for us). In this way, saints were called upon by sinners seeking forgiveness and salvation.

The bas-de-page (lower margin), features an ape hunting wild boars: both animals were symbolic of vice and lust. Perhaps deriving from a fable, the scene could be amusing or diversionary, but it was likely instructive for the medieval owner of the book.

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