Animal Tales

May 18, 2019–August 11, 2019

Sly foxes, ferocious lions, and slithering snakes are just some of the vivid and compelling images of animals that appear in the pages of manuscripts in the Walters Art Museum.

Dating between the 13th and 17th centuries, the 12 manuscripts in this exhibition reveal how animals were not mere decoration, but represented shared cultural knowledge like morals, stories, and fables. When viewed together, these texts reveal ways of communicating through images that, in our modern world of memes and emojis, is still relevant today. Animal Tales draws upon the Walters’ world-renowned manuscript and rare book collection that spans more than 1000 years and contains over 900 manuscripts, 1300 of the earliest printed books, and 2000 rare later editions from across the globe.


See our digitized manuscript collection