*This post was originally written as a Facebook post for Babywearing International of Cleveland for International Babywearing Week 2016. Some edits have been made for clarity.
Hi all, I'm Wendy, one of your resident art historians and volunteer babywearing educators! This is the first in a series of images of a work of art that features babywearing, or a carrier that's also a work of art!
To start off, here’s an image near and dear to my medievalist heart. This babywearing hare comes from the margins of the Pontifical of Guillaume Durand, produced near Avignon before 1390. A pontifical is a book containing rites and ceremonies to be performed by the pope or a bishop, a very rich book, indeed! A manuscript of this type (“manu” meaning hand, and “script” indicating written) was painstakingly copied by expert calligraphers, artists painted in images, and gold leaf was applied to enhance the beauty and luxury of the final object. It took a whole team of skilled workers to produce a single page. The images and decorations (especially the gold) make this an illuminated manuscript, one enhanced by pictures that often related concepts from the text within, or revealed the sense of humor of the monks who labored over them. No one’s sure why or how this puppy-wearing hare made it to the edges of the text of this holy book, but I’m sure glad it did!
(Paris, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, ms. 143, fol. 174r, originally sourced from discarding images)