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Animals > Hares

Hare

The English were keen on hunting the hare par force (by scent) though in other European countries hare-coursing (by sight) was more favoured; in the latter case greyhounds were used.  Here the hare is pursued by a running-hound but the hare’s ears and tail are held up indicating that it is feeling strong and confident of escape.  The hunter is blowing his horn to alert the rest of the hunt.

 

Hares were difficult to track because of their habit of running a zigzag course, retracing their steps and generally confusing the hounds, but this very contrariness delighted the hunters as they watched the dogs unravelling the trail.

Hares were thought to be hermaphroditic as its genitalia are ambiguous. When it appears in art it frequently denotes lust and fecundity and in this guise sometimes sits at the feet of the Virgin Mary to indicate her triumph over lust.