The Story
Inspiration
Background
The Tapestries
First chapter
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BACKGROUND

MEDIEVAL SYMBOLISM

In medieval art everything stood for something else. A dog was never just a dog, a lily never just a lily. There was an elaborate symbolic code familiar to all, in which animals and plants each contained different moral messages for humans, often based on physical traits or behavior.

Animal Physical Trait/Behavior Symbolizes
Panther Sweet breath Jesus Christ; the Word
Unicorn single horn; savage; loyal Christ; pure and invincible
Lion King of the beasts; strong courageous, strong, faithful
Goat likes high hills; keen-sighted Christ-like; all-knowing
Wolf strong chest, weak legs; ravenous, cunning devil
Hare swift and timid fearful of God
Fox doesn't walk in straight line devious, clever
Dog clever; loves its master faithful and loyal
Lamb pure; innocent; blameless Christ
Heron flies high to avoid storms; white and grey souls of the saints above earthly things; innocent and penitent
Partridge steals each other's eggs; powerful sex drive treacherous, lustful
Magpie noisy, likes shiny things gossip; thieving
Rabbit reproduces often fertility
Falcon good eyesight; love of master total vision; faithful