Notes from the Hare-Brained

haresJohann_Georg_Seitz_Gemüsestilleben_mit_Häschen

A friend from England commented that the ” warrior rabbits” found in medieval manuscripts are actually hares. There is a distinct difference between the two. From Wikipedia:

Hares and jackrabbits areleporidsbelonging to the genus Lepus. Hares are classified into the same family as rabbits and are of similar size, form, and diet as rabbits. They are generally herbivorous, long-eared, and fast runners, and typically live solitarily or in pairs. The hare is often associated with moon deities.

Hare170px-Paderborner_Dom_Dreihasenfenster

The Hasenfenster (hare windows) in Paderborn Cathedral and in the Muotathal Monastery in Switzerland, in which three hares are depicted with only three ears between them, forming a triangle, can be seen as a symbol of the Trinity, and probably go back to an old symbol for the passage of time. The idea of rabbits as a symbol of vitality, rebirth and resurrection derives from antiquity. This explains their role in connection with Easter, the resurrection of Christ.

Famous Hares in Literature, Art and Movies

White_rabbit_art_colorpooka220px-A_Young_Hare,_Albrect_Durer

The March Hare in Alice and Wonderland is probably the most famous hare in literature. In movies it has to be the “pooka” (imaginary six foot rabbit in “Harvey”). The pooka/puca derives from Celtic mythology. Next to the hares in medieval manuscripts, my favorite is Albrecht Durer’s exquisite drawing of a hare.

bunny and dog

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