Before Disenchantment: Images of Exotic Animals and Plants in the Early Modern World

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Imagine barnacle geese--creatures that begin life as leaves on a tree growing above water, but turn into small birds as soon as they fall in. Or the Lamb of Tartary that gestates inside a large gourd-like fruit. These are just some of the animal and plant hybrids imagined by early modern explorers and artists to describe unfamiliar flora and fauna. In Before Disenchantment , Peter Mason explores how naturalists grappled with the problem of representing exotic plants and animals, turning an analytic eye on the sketches ...

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