Wednesday, 27 May 2020

bridal registry

Courtesy of the Everlasting Blört, we find ourselves quite taken with the endless galleries of deep dives and long tails that comprise the Museum of Ridiculous Interesting Things. Renaissance sexuality and women’s roles is not the most enlightened exhibition to explore, assuredly, but their curation of the sexy symbolism of the weasel and related varmints is indeed edifying and comprehensive.
Branching off from and bringing it all back around to the era’s most iconic depiction from Leonardo in the 1490 portrait Lady with an Ermine (Dama con l'ermellino) of Cecilia Gallerani, mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, we discover what sort of associations were laden on this poor creature as a companion and signifier of status and hope and generally commissions for marriages. Da Vinci himself would later remark in his own bestiary that the ermine represents moderation, deigning only to eat once a day, and the purity of character to surrender herself to the huntsman rather than sully her fine coat. Speaking of which, the keeping of a pelt from weasel, mink or stoat was referred to as a zibellini, a luxuriant fur flea to drape over ones neck as a charm for getting pregnant, reflecting the rather nonsensical and non sequitur belief that weasels conceived through their ears and gave birth through their mouths, following the Marian tradition of the messenger angle whispering in her ear and Mary proclaiming the news—an homage that does not seem quite ideal in terms of fatherhood and legacy. Much more to discover at the links above.