The rabbit has a charming face;
Its private life is a disgrace.
I really dare not name to you
The awful things that rabbits do.
Donkeys (bong-bu) have long ears. They don't do what anybody tells them to do once they've made up their minds not to. They dig in their hooves and you can yank all you want for all the difference it will make.
Don't try to contact me or dissuade me. I'll be in temporary blog retirement nirvana for the next few months. My loyal readers — both of you — will have to find something better to do for awhile.
It's spring, you know?
The frontis-hare is from the Church of SS. Lot and Procopius, at Mt. Nebo, Jordan. Here are some more mosaics, including another rabbit, at this site of the Franciscan Archaeological Institute.
The final palm-rabbit you see below is from the mosaics of the Byzantine church at Petra, Jordan (more mosaics from there here). I'll call it, The Rabbit at the Ends of the Palms. You'll see why. Most Jordanian mosaic rabbits I've seen seem to be frolicking amongst the grapes.
Look here for a rabbit mosaic at Beit Shean.
And here for another at Kisufim in the northern Negev Desert.
Clue: It's not a mosaic.
I don't want to say what it is exactly.
That's for you to know or find out.
They say the donkey is just the domesticated form of the wild ass.
From folio 118 verso of the materia medica work of Jampal Dorje (1792-1855). The author was a multi-lingual Mongolian prince (tho-yon/toyin) who spent much of his adult life doing research in Tibet (he made a collection of rare Kadampa texts that he collected by traveling all over the Tibetan plateau, to give another example of his wide-ranging interests). I haven't yet seen the article by P. Banzragch & B. Gerke, Some Notes on the Famous Mongolian Pharmacologist Jambal Dorje, Ayurvijnana vol. 8 (2002).
Here's the best blog about mosaics I know about.
Here is something for you to look up in your local library if you can:
W.T. Blanford, Notes on a Large Hare Inhabiting High Elevations in Western Tibet. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 44 (1875), pp. 214-5.
To get an inkling of what Tanachic Judaism and particularly Christianity have had to say about the hare, look here, and turn to page no. 66, if the Google-guards permit you. Basically, they are said to be wise enough to run away as fast as they can or to take refuge in secure places. (To see the remarkable images, you would have to buy the book, unfortunate since, in the physical book, you could behold the hares of the four directions in a circular array.) Notice how the same book, on p. 97, etymologizes ass: "The ass gets its name because men sit on it (a sedendo), but this name is more fitting to horses." This doesn't agree with etymologies found elsewhere. It looks like it goes back to the Etymologies of Isidore (d. 636 CE). Just search for "a sedendo" once you get to the link, and you'll find these words:Asinus et asellus a sedendo dictus, quasi asedus: sed hoc nomen, quod magis equis conveniebat...
§ § §
A final mysterious note: In Nicholas Sihlé's article Lhachö and Hrinän (contained in: Henk Blezer, ed., Religion and Secular Culture in Tibet [Tibetan Studies II], Brill [Leiden 2002], at p. 190), is an example of a ritual effigy of a rabbit, in which the word for rabbit is bo-rang. This form of the rabbit-hare name found in northern Nepal (Baragaon) is very interesting to me, since Zhang-zhung language also has a word for 'rabbit' that appears variously as 'bo-la, bo-la, 'bo-la-sti, bho-la, 'bol-la. ('Bo-la is the form that actually occurs in the texts of the Mdzod-phug cosmological text.) It might be significant that many Tibeto-Burman languages, especially in western Tibetan areas, have a word for 'thumb' (or sometimes 'toe') that looks a lot like bola. One of the usual Tibetan words for 'thumb' is mthe-bong, and there we see that bong syllable again. Perhaps that, in turn has something to do with the Tibetan word for 'clod,' bong-ba? Would the bong syllable have something to do with 'swollenness' or something like that? A common Tibetan verb that means 'to swell up,' is sbo-ba. Perhaps sbong-ba, 'soak, drench' ['make bloated'] belongs in the same word group? Just wondering aloud. An intransitive form of sbong-ba would lose the 's' and likely be 'bong-ba, wouldn't it? (I don't know of such a verb, but 'bong-ba means 'roundness.') Just thinking out loud some more. Perhaps a real linguist could step in about now and set me straight.
§ § §
A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey.
— A Sufi saying (is it really?)