Paintings of dead hares, and other game animals, developed as a sub-genre of still-life painting in the 1500s. The images celebrated the leisure of hunting and the privileged access to land.

The development of this genre in European art closely tracks with Enclosure, which was the legal privatization of land previously held in common. It tracks with the development of private property. It tracks with the development of secular subjects in art.


Years ago, I met a magician doing sleight-of-hand magic at a party. He explained that pulling a rabbit from a hat dates back to 1814, but the origin can be traced to prehistoric shamanism. Rabbits live underground, you see, in the underworld. In the ancient version, a live rabbit would be sacrificed. The bones would be placed in a container and incantations would take place. After this, a second rabbit would emerge, restored.

“The old ‘life, death, resurrection’ trick,” he said.  

Things have a persistence.


In 2015, the average unit cost of Hellfire missiles purchased by the Army and Air Force was $99,600. Each missile had the equivalent cost of 323,700 lbs. of butter.