Archive for September, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Far from Home

Curcuma longa in flower

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a native of India, flowering in the arcade of Bonnefont Cloister. Turmeric and other tender exotics in the collection are grown in pots.

The plant collection at The Cloisters includes a number of exotic species that would not have been grown in medieval European gardens, but whose dried roots, seeds, bark, or other parts were imported for use in food and medicine. Read more »

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Vintage

September page from the Belles Heures thumbnail September Activity thumbnail The Zodiacal Sign of Libra thumbnail

Above, from left to right: Calendar page for September from the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, 1405–1408/1409. Pol, Jean, and Herman de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France, by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1); detail of the activity for the month; detail of the zodiacal symbol Libra. See the Collection Database to learn more about this work of art.

Images of peasants sowing, reaping, threshing, winnowing, and storing wheat in the appropriate months dominate the medieval calendar tradition—the only agricultural product that rivals wheat’s importance in the cycle of the year is the wine grape, Vitis vinifera. (For more on wine grapes and wine in the Middle Ages, see “Grapevines at The Cloisters,” March 13.). Read more »