HOLIDAYS & FEAST DAYS
seems that sometimes noble women did hunt, although illustrations
showing women doing so are limited and it's a little hard to see
what is for the sport of hunting and what is representing hunting
In a practical sense, it is unlikely women would have been the
providers of meat in a household. The women shown are noble ladies,
and not peasant women who need food..
The illuminated image from the Taymouth Hours from England
dated between 1325 and 1340, show a lady hunting rabbits with
what appears to be blunt arrows.
This may indicate that in this instance, hunting was for sport
as a game of accuracy, and the aim was not to kill the prey, although
ideas of this type have not been put forward to the best of my
illuminations, like the Hunting Scene from Queen Mary's Psalter
at left, dated around 1310 to 1320 make no illusions to exactly
what is intended.
The stag has taken an arrow to the head and the hunting hound
is in the process of bringing the beast down.
The image is clearly designed to show a successful kill.
A further illumanated image
dated from 1325 to 1340 from an English manuscript, The Taymouth
Hours, shows four women in the process of gutting a stag.
The entire manuscript shows
women hunting, hawking and using bows and arrows to hunt.
Their fur-lined overgowns
have the sleeves pinned up to keep them clean, but in a real-world
scenario, noble ladies would have servants to gut the stag for
Other images from the same
manuscript show the women netting rabbits, and using birds of
Other manuscripts like the
Romance of Alexander, shown below, in detail 122v, show
women riding astride chasing hounds or using birds of prey. Again,
it seems extremely unlikely that this was an activity undertaken
for anything other than amusement.