Friday, July 23, 2010

Zebra stripes

“Perhaps of all four-legged animals, the zebra is the most well made and the most elegantly dressed; it has the figure and grace of the horse, the lightness of the deer, and its coat, striped with black and white bands, arranged with so much regularity and symmetry, makes it seem as though nature used a ruler and compass to paint it. The alternating bands of black and white are all the more remarkable because they are narrow, parallel, and precisely divided, as in striped cloth; […] they are always a lively and brilliant shade on the short, fine, thick coat, its luster augmenting the beauty of the colours.”

G.L. de Buffon, Histoire naturelle, 3rd ed., vol.12 (Paris, 1769), pp. 323 – 24
Cited in Pastoureau, Michel, 2001. The devil’s cloth: a history of stripes. Translated from French by Jody Gladding. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Singapore: Washington Square Press, pp. 45, 46


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