The Silk Road of Monkey Tales

A very interesting article about monkeys and carpenter’s fables from Chris Schwartz at Lost Arts Press.

Lost Art Press


Marco Polo is one of my heroes. That’s him and his fellow travelers on my favorite map the Catalan Atlas of 1375 by Abraham Cresques.

I enjoy tales of adventure whether it is the real life wanderings of Marco Polo or Ibn Buttata, the mythical adventures in the Odyssey, the Argonautica or Samurai Champloo. The last week has found me on the Silk Road following fables about monkeys and carpenters. It all started while trying to track down the illustrations of a caravan from a 13th century manuscript that had nothing to do with monkeys. Instead, I came across this image from 1222 CE and wondered why was a monkey apparently not helping a sawyer.


In short order, through the digital libraries of a dozen countries, I was tracing a set of fables and lessons from India, across the Middle East, the Iberian Peninsula and into the rest of Europe…

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