As I Went Out on a May Morning . . . » May Activity: Falconry

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May Activity: Falconry

Here, the month of May is represented by an elegant nobleman on horseback crossing a grassy field. He wears a wreath of green leaves on his head and holds a green bough in the hand that grasps the reins. A falcon with outstretched wings perches on his other hand (Timothy B. Husband, The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, 2008).

Falconry was an aristocratic pursuit enjoyed by both men and women. While the green wreath and leafy branch link the falconer to the garlanded, bough-bearing courtiers of both sexes in the outing depicted in the May calendar page of the Très Riches Heures, here he is shown alone. The depiction of a lone falconer may allude to the erotic theme so strongly associated with the month, although no female shares the scene. Hunting and hawking as metaphors for sexual pursuit were common in both literary and artistic contexts.

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