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1560 Gesner Magnus medieval whaling

1560 Gesner Magnus medieval whaling

C011/0841

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Woodcut with old colouring. Gesner "Icones Animalium" publ. Christof Froschover, Zurich, 1560. Gesner appears to derive this image partly from Olaus Magnus "Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus" 1555 where he describes Faroes whaling/flensing. Controversially this traditional whaling continues on the Faroes to this day, though there is less general interest in other medieval traditions or way of life. Note the curiously enlarged breasts of the whale Gesner depicts here - Gesner was one of the first naturalists to realise the cetaceans were mammals. He also does away with Magnus' whale tusks for this image.

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