Disability in Medieval Art

Most of the portrayals of disabled people from the 10th to end of 13th Century are to be found in illustrated hand coloured and drawn manuscripts, miniature paintings from greater Persia and stain glassed windows produced by unknown artisans or artists.. They are mainly moral tales and tales of miracles deriving from the religious stories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

St Gulthric expells demon East Anglia 1210 (1)

St Gulthric expels a demon 1210, England. A acknowledgement of mental health ?

Christ Heals a paralytic The Gospel of Tsar Ivan Alexander, Turnova 1355 (3)Christ Heals a blind man The Syriac Lectionaary Mosul 1216 (1)

Christ heals a paralytic at pool at Bethesda-‘Take up thy bed and walk’ and Christ heals a blind man
Syrian Lectionary northern Iraq 1256-20

A paralytic is healed by Cuthbert's shrine 1200 DurhamLife of St cuthbert book. Heals child and blind man. Durham 1200

A paralytic healed by Cuthburt’s Shrine and a baby and youth cured by relics (a hair) of St Cuthbert. Bede’s Life of Saint Cuthburt ,Durham 1200.

Often disabled pilgrims were portrayed on their way to a holly shrine for a cure.

Pilgrims some lAME OMNE BLIND ON WAY TO mT.sT.mICHELE lUTTREL pSALTER, lINCOLN 1325

Pilgrims, 2 lame and one blind, on their way to Mount St.Michel in France. The Luttrel Psalter Lincoln 1325

Sometimes just a thorn from Christs Crown, nails from his cross or his winding sheet-the holy grail were attributed with cures.

The Holy Grail is carried to Sarras(Jerusalam) La Queste del Saint Graal France 1316. Note lame man cured.

The holy grail is carried to Sarras(Jerusalam) by knoights assisted by a lame man cured by Galahad The Quest for the Holy Grail France 1316

Manuscript illustrations give us glimpse into the life of disabled people during this period

meideval crutches July 18 Hermann of Reichenau 1013-1054Medieval crutches July 18 Hermann of Reichenau 1013-1054

MS. Bodl. 264, part 1. 14th C. The Romance of Alexander. Buttons up past elbow & low toward hem.

Disabled people as figures of fun. Harvesting

Royal 13 B VIII fol. 30v - A crippled man.

Pitiable

Stredovek Miniature fighter with a sword and crutch.

Fighter with a crutch!

n medieval England, the 'leprechaun', the 'blynde', the 'dumbe', the 'deaff', the 'natural fool', the 'creple', the 'lame' and the 'lunatick' were a highly visible presence in Everyday life.

 

Luttrell Psalter 1325.  In medieval England, the ‘leprechaun’, the ‘blynde’, the ‘dumbe’, the ‘deaff’, the ‘natural fool’, the ‘creple’, the ‘lame’ and the ‘lunatick’ were a highly visible presence in Everyday life and reflected in Manuscript illustrations.

Stained Glass windows in Cathedrals and Churches sent out similar messages.

William heals ablind woman York Minster

William heals a blind woman. York Minster

a-stained-glass-window-depicting-jesus-curing-the-man-with-palsy-church Church of Christ the Consoler, Skelton Cum Newby1

 

A-stained-glass-window-depicting-jesus-curing-the-man-with-palsy-church Church of Christ the Consoler, Skelton Cum Newby

Timur the Lame or Tamberlain featured in of minatures. The unlikely combination of a war leader who captured a sizeable central Asian empire whilst bein disabled from injuries in his leag and hand.

_64520891_tamerlane624Tamberlain in AnatoliaTamerlane who won the Ankara war against the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I in July 28, 1402 did not immediately left Anatolia and stayed there for approximately one year.

Tamberlain in Anatolia. Tamerlane who won the Ankara war against the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I in July 28, 1402

He did not immediately left Anatolia and stayed there for approximately one year.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20538810

A fallen rider revived by St Dominic. The caption says he broke his neck 1330 Yates Th0mpson MS England

 

A fallen rider revived by St Dominic. The caption says he broke his neck, 1330, Yates Thompson MS, England

Tamerlane imprisoned and humiliated the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid.

 

Lame Tamerlane imprisoned and humiliated the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid.

Timur defeats the sultan of Delhi

Timur defeats the Sultan of Delhi

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The brazen serpent Hebrew Northern France 1278-98

The brazen serpent. Hebrew Northern France 1278-98

Source  Marvellous to Behold Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts Deirdre Jackson  2007 The British Library