Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from F-J

Five Senses

human sight hearing touch

Interest in the five human faculties of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste is exhibited in medieval medical treatises and encyclopedic works in sections concerning the properties and nature of the human body. In diagrams illustrating these texts, the five senses may be linked to the planetary influences and to the *Four Elements (hence, sight derives from fire, hearing and smell from air, touch from the earth, and taste from water). The microcosm of the human body was understood to mirror the macrocosm of the universe, as developed also in the doctrine of the *Four Humors. Human personifications of the Five Senses, and their related animal attributes, develop largely in the post-medieval period; for example, the early sixteenth-century series of tapestries in the Cluny Museum in Paris depicting courtly scenes of an elegant lady accompanied by a unicorn has been interpreted as an allegory of the Five Senses. She is shown holding a mirror (sight), playing an organ (hearing), stroking the unicorn (touch), being offered sweets from a dish (taste), and holding a floral wreath (smell).
Fizeau, Armand Hippolyte Louis [next] [back] Fitzpatrick, Sheila (1941–) - Russian History

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or