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Table of contents
PREFACE
TOUCH-1
TOUCH-2
TOUCH-3 (begin)
TOUCH-3 (end)
TOUCH-4 (begin)
TOUCH-4 (end)
SMELL-1
SMELL-2
SMELL-3.1
SMELL-3.2
SMELL-3.3
SMELL-3.4
SMELL-3.5
SMELL-4 (begin)
SMELL-4 (end)
SMELL-5
HEARING-1
HEARING-2
HEARING-3
VISION-1.1
VISION-1.2
VISION-1.3
VISION-2.1
VISION-2.2
VISION-2.3
VISION-2.4
VISION-3
VISION-4
VISION-5
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

 

 

 

An ancient Irish hero is thus described: "They saw a great hero 

approaching them; fairest of the heroes of the world; larger and 

taller than any man; bluer than ice his eye; redder than the 

fresh rowan berries his lips; whiter than showers of pearl his 

teeth; fairer than the snow of one night his skin; a protecting 

shield with a golden border was upon him, two battle-lances in 

his hands; a sword with knobs of ivory [teeth of the sea-horse], 

and ornamented with gold, at his side; he had no other 

accoutrements of a hero besides these; he had golden hair on his 

head, and had a fair, ruddy countenance." (_The Banquet of Dun na 

n-gedh_, translated by O'Donovan, _Irish Archaeological Society_, 

1842.) 

 

The feminine ideal of the Italian poets closely resembles that of 

those north of the Alps. Petrarch's Laura, as described in the 

_Canzoniere_, is white as snow; her eyes, indeed, are black, but 

the fairness of her hair is constantly emphasized; her lips are 

rosy; her teeth white; her cheeks rosy; her breast youthful; her 

hands white and slender. Other poets insist on the tall, white, 

delicate body; the golden or blonde hair; the bright or starry 

eyes (without mention of color), the brown or black arched 

eyebrows, the straight nose, the small mouth, the thin vermilion 

lips, the small and firm breasts. (Renier, _Il Tipo Estetico_, 

pp. 87 et seq.) 

 

Marie de France, a French mediaeval writer of the twelfth century, 

who spent a large part of her life in England, in the _Lai of 

Lanval_ thus described a beautiful woman: "Her body was 

beautiful, her hips low, the neck whiter than snow, the eyes gray 

(_vairs_), the face white, the mouth beautiful, the nose well 

placed, the eyebrows brown, the forehead beautiful, the head 

curly and blonde; the gleam of gold thread was less bright than 

her hair beneath the sun." 

 

The traits of Boccaccio's ideal of feminine beauty, a voluptuous 

ideal as compared with the ascetic mediaeval ideal which had 

previously prevailed, together with the characteristics of the 

very beautiful and almost classic garments in which he arrayed 

women, have been brought together by Hortis (_Studi sulle opere 

Latine del Boccaccio_, 1879, pp. 70 et seq.). Boccaccio admired 

fair and abundant wavy hair, dark and delicate eyebrows, and 

brown or even black eyes. It was not until some centuries later, 

as Hortis remarks, that Boccaccio's ideal woman was embodied by 

the painter in the canvases of Titian. 

 

The first precise description of a famous beautiful woman was 

written by Niphus in the sixteenth century in his _De Pulchro et 

Amore_, which is regarded as the first modern treatise on 

aesthetics. The lady described is Joan of Aragon, the greatest 

beauty of her time, whose portrait by Raphael (or more probably 


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