Saturday, February 21, 2009

A person sized cart

King Edward the Confessor giving alms to a leper in a cart. A 1517 woodcut by Hans Burgkmair (1473-1531), part of a series of images of diverse saints done for a commission by Emperor Maximilian I .

One of the points of discussion around small wagons and carts being used to haul small loads and kids around SCA events is: would it have been done in period? After many years of searching I finally came across an illustration of such a period use. So we can say that at least the concept was not totally foreign to a medieval person.
It should be noted in the woodcut that one of the conventions Burgkmair employed in his woodcuts was to make the saint being portrayed "larger than life." Therefore, the cart should be regarded as proportional to the unfortunate leper, not to the 'heroically' sized St. Edward.
The picture is found in "Bottoms Up! A Pathologist's Essays on Medicine & the Humanities," by William B. Ober, MD, page 144, fig. 6.32, ISBN 0-00-097188-6, lccn 88-45120.

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