[Here, courtesy of the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog, is word of a new exhibit. Five items are now viewable on-line. This link will bring up all the posted installments at any given moment.]
How is it that the figure of a woman, draped, holding scales and
sword, has been so widely recognized as a symbol of the law for more
than 500 years?
This question is at the heart of the latest exhibit from the Yale Law
Library's Rare Book Collection: "The Remarkable Run of a Political
Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law." Using images from books printed
between 1497 and 1788, the exhibit traces the roots of the iconography
of Justice, a remnant of the Renaissance, that remains legible today.
The exhibit features eleven volumes from the Law Library's Rare Book
Collection, along with four emblem books on loan from Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
The shifting attributes of Justice, displayed in the exhibit, reflect
the complex relationships between judgment, sight, knowledge, and
wisdom. In the 1400s and 1500s, a blindfold on Justice signified her
disability; today the blindfold is commonly understood as a sign of
The exhibit is curated by Judith Resnik (Arthur Liman Professor of
Law, Yale Law School), Dennis Curtis (Clinical Professor of Law
Emeritus, Yale Law School), Allison Tait (Gender Equity & Policy
Postdoctoral Associate, Yale Women Faculty Forum), and Mike Widener
(Rare Book Librarian). The exhibit draws heavily on Resnik's &
Curtis' new book, Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms (Yale University Press, 2011).
The exhibit is on display through December 16, 2011 in the Rare Book
Exhibition Gallery, located on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law
Library, Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street. It is open to the
public, 9am-10pm daily.