This is Erika's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Erika's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Recent Activity
Knights in combat in medieval illumination are usually understood to indicate spiritual struggle. My first reaction to something like a mollusc would be that the shell is the word of scripture and the meat inside the shell is the spiritual truth or flesh of salvation that the listener (or reader) should hope to achieve through their spiritual struggle (i.e. the body of Christ, the Word made flesh.) But generally, too, when you get these depictions of nature or daily life in the later Middle Ages - remember we also have Scholasticism's interest in nature as the backdrop. So if we go to Aristotle's History of Animals we'll find that he classifies molluscs as 'bloodless' as opposed to red blooded animals. Aha. So this is also relevant to the idea of Word made flesh - the snail's defining feature is that it's all flesh. Also, Tyrian purple, better known as imperial purple, was an elite manuscript pigment extracted from sea snails. There could be an aristocratic association. But if there's a Eucharistic pun to be had like there is here, then that's probably the better explanation.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2013 on Knight v Snail at Medieval manuscripts blog
Erika is now following The Typepad Team
Nov 5, 2013