Dumb Medieval Lion Enamel Pin by Mink Superstore

£8.00
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This pin combines some of my favourite features of various dumb lions from medieval bestiaries. Bestiaries were illustrated manuscripts that described the characteristics of beasts, lions being one of the most popular depictions as emblems of power and royalty. It’s easy to attribute their dumbness to bad execution but the truth is a lot more interesting. 

Medieval art was governed by compositional devices - predetermined geometric schemes and design motifs that artists would copy and repeat as signifiers of different virtues. Artists were less invested in expressing their own perspective or literal proportions than they were in depicting animals as reflections of human behaviour or divine will. 

This dumb lion has the repeated flat patterns, heavily modelled face and little tongue typical of bestiary drawings, along with the squat body and curly hair that signified timidity. It’s interesting to see the strangeness of dumb lions as artistic decisions specific to their era that have dated to the extent that they now look delightfully weird to modern eyes.

• Soft enamel pin
• 3 colours with black plating
• 2 rubber clutches
• Guaranteed good time