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A Zoological Emblem Book: Willem Van Der Borcht's Sedighe Sinne-Beelden (1642)

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Chapter Summary

Animals were a very popular topic in sixteenth and seventeenth-century emblem books. This chapter argues that, both in structural composition and thematic focus, Willem Van der Borcht's emblem book belongs to the emblematic sub-genre of zoological emblem books. It demonstrates how, in writing the Sedighe Sinne-beelden, Van der Borcht was inspired by a more scientific, zoological work written some three years before the Sedighe Sinne-beelden. The chapter focuses on a number of picturae in the Sedighe Sinne-beelden which are clearly inspired by the tradition of illustrated fable books. The influence of the Historia medica on the Sedighe Sinne-beelden goes far beyond the re-publishing of woodcuts, a common commercial phenomenon at the time. Each emblem in the Sedighe Sinne-beelden provides a combination of animal characteristics and moral lessons deduced from them, very much like the sixteenth-century emblem books by Aneau and Guéroult.

Keywords: Aneau; fable books; Guéroult; Historia medica; Sedighe Sinne-beelden; Willem Van der Borcht; zoological emblem books



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