Tuesday, January 31, 2017

DINOSAURS: From Cultural to Pop Culture - 1300's and 1400's AD: Dragons in the late Medieval Ages

We continue on to our next entry in DINOSAURS: From Cultural to Pop Culture - the Medieval Times:

Medieval Times: 1300's and 1400's AD
Dragons in the late Medieval Ages

Continuing from last time, we are looking at dragons and how they evolved through the Middle Ages. I was recently having a conversation about dragons and I was asked if it could honestly be said that dragons evolved through local discoveries of dinosaur bones. And while, it can not be absolutely proven that dragons stem from dinosaurs (it's likely not even possible that scientists could prove one way or the other that they are linked), I think it is a safe assumption that there is some historical linkage between the two. 

As mentioned before a good website to find information on Medieval beasts is The Medieval Bestiary though.  Another good source is the British Library, which has some crossover between the sources and is a good check on the sources. Images below can be found at this link: http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beastgallery262.htm#

Dragons in the 1300's

Dragon's in the 1300's continued along the very familiar lines of the 1200's. Here is depicted a dragon at the base of the Peridexion tree, with the same physical attributes as before. These include the large hind legs, big ears, and wings, although this particular example appears to not have any wings present. This image can be found in the Bodleian Library, MS. Bodley 912.

More images of dragons from the 1300's. These are interesting in that they appear to have feathers or fur of some variety. In the 1200's some of the dragons appeared to have some feathers on their wings but not to the degree that these show. Top row left image is of a dragon supposedly licking somebody, although to me it looks like it is vomiting. Both top row images with the feathery wings can found in Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 308.  Both bottom row images with the bat-like wings can be found in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, KA 16.

The above image is of a wood carving of a bat with four legs, which is rare but not unheard of from the 1200's. This bat also shows leathery bat wings instead of the bird like wings of the drawings. This carving is from the Cartmel Priory, from Cartmel, England and the image can be found in  Wood Carvings in English Churches: Misericords by Francis Bond (1910).

Dragons in the 1400's

There is a continued stagnation of dragon development through the end of the Middle Ages, although the drawings do seem to get more detailed.

More dragons at the base of the Peridexion tree. The interesting item of note here, is that the dragon on the left appears to have something running down the midline of its back and tail. Hard to tell what they are supposed to represent although they do look like octopus suckers. Perhaps they supposed to be spikes? This isn't a one off occurrence either as can be seen in a dragon illustrated below with the same circle pattern. The image on the left is from the Kongelige Bibliotek, Gl. kgl. S. 1633 4º (Bestiarius - Bestiary of Ann Walsh). The image on the right is from the Museum Meermanno, MMW, 10 B 25.

More of the same types of dragons as before. These often in more detail though. The top row dragon on the left does have that circular pattern running down its tail though. Perhaps it is no coincidence that both images are from the same book, the Kongelige Bibliotek, Gl. kgl. S. 1633 4º (Bestiarius - Bestiary of Ann Walsh). The well feather specimen on the top row, right is from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, 72 A 23 (Liber Floridus). The leathery bottom row dragon with the bat-like wings is from the Museum Meermanno, MMW, 10 B 25.

These carvings (also illustrated in the Wood Carvings in English Churches: Misericords by Francis Bond (1910) like the image above) can be found in the Carlisle Cathedral, Carlisle, England. As seen above, these dragons are pictured with more a bat wing appearance, however the other attributes remain the same.

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