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Monday, March 24, 2014

ENRIQUE DE VILLENA, 1384-1434 KNOWN FOR "THE ART OF CARVING"

DON ENRIQUE DE ARAGON, 
marqués de Villena (sic)
From: eldesvandemislibros

also known as Enrique of Aragon, son of Pedro, a direct descendant of the kings of Aragon and Catalonia, and Juana, a bastard daughter of Enrique II of Castile.

He was born in Iniesta (Cuenca). As his father was killed in the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385) in Portugal. Alfonso of Aragon, the first Marquis of Villena, his paternal grandfather raised him.

 In 1398, Alfonso lost the title for his allegiance to Pedro I of Castile who was killed by his half brother Enrique II of Castile. The marquis and his grandson spent their lives in and out of the favor of the Aragonese and Castellan courts.

Enrique of Aragon had financial problems during most of his life. Sometimes the kings helped him but not always. Although called “the marquis,” Enrique of Aragon never actually held the title. Sometimes he is confused with Juan Pacheco, favourite of Henry IV, and successor to the marquisette after Enrique’s grandfather.

Enrique was a great intellectual of his age having studied alchemy, arithmetic, geometry, astrology and astronomy. His literary works seem to have been more outstanding than his scientific endeavours as he had good style and knowledge of Latin and Greek. Although several of his works were burned due to censorship, among those that survived are: Arte de trovar (The Art of Writing Verse), Arte cisoria y tratado del arte de cortar con cuchillo (The Art of Carving), Tratado de la lepra (Treaty on Leprosy), Menor daño de medicina (Less Pain in Medicine), Libro de aojamiento o fascinología (The Book of the Evil Eye or Sorcery), the poem Los doce trabajos de Hércules (The Twelve Works of Hercules), which he translated into Catalan, and his translations of the Divine Comedy, and Eneida.

Love me Tender
Photo from: falling_angel
The Art of Carving is of primary interest because Villena’s stress on hygiene to prevent the death or illness of the king. Not only did the carver have to have a clean body but had to wear gloves and rings with stones over them to ward off poisons.

In 1400 Enrique III of Castile arranged his marriage with Maria of Albornoz who owned vast extensions of land in the province of Cuenca. The couple divorced in 1420. Also Enrique III named Enrique of Aragon Master of the Knightly Order of Calatrava in 1404 but due to his bad reputation of being a sorcerer and other slander against him, the honor was withdrawn in 1414.

Removing the Stuffing from a Chicken
Photo by: Lord-Williams
In 1420 Juan II of Castile gave Enrique of Aragon the title of Lord of Iniesta, thus providing him with a village where he could retire in his old age. He had two bastard children. The second was the daughter of Sister Isabel de Villena. In the summer of 1434 he participated in Suero Quiñones’ jousting tournament. Later in the year he went to Madrid to request financing from the crown. He died in debt on December 15, 1434.

[Espasa. 1989:5:AM:1185; ES: “Enrique.” Jan 15, 03; and Villena/Calero. 2002:xv-xix:15-17]

HOW TO CARVE FOWL AS PER ENRIQUE DE VILLENA'S ARTE CISORIA (THE ART OF CARVING), 23b-24a

Small Plate in Rear with Chopped Wing Meat for King
Platter to Right with Leg Meat for Guests & Stuffing
Bowl for Bones
Slicing Breast
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Big, thick birds including crane, gosling, duck, pheasant, francolin, widgeons, roasters, castrated male chickens, heron and great bustards are carved in the following manner: 

Remove the neck and tail. Remove threads used to secure the fowl to the spit. Remove barding and/or stuffing. Cut off the claws and wings. Remove the skin from the wings, cut the meat off and chop into pieces. Put claws and bones in a bowl. Give the wings to the king to eat while carving the remainder of the bird.

Cut the legs off the body and separate the thighs from the lower part of the legs. Remove the skin. Secure the thigh with a trident and cut the meat into thick pieces until the bone is clean. Dice the meat and put it on a platter. After this, slice the meat around the pelvis near the thighs into thin slices and place that on the platter and offer it to the other eaters for the to begin this course. 

Slice the breast lengthwise on one side. When finished do the other side. Slice the rump or pope's nose. Then pull out the breastbone and cut it in half. Pull out the sternum and cut it in half. Then cut the pelvis and spinal cord into pieces. 

Neither the sternum nor the pelvis are cut in half when carving geese, gosling, cranes, heron and great bustards. . .  

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