Using the wealth of medieval art, much of it unseen or ignored by museums and art historians, Jones paints a compelling picture of life as imagined by the masses between 1200 and 1500. The civilization that emerges is both like and unlike our own, one teeming with the richness of life and its contradictions. In contrast to most medieval studies, Jones does not focus exclusively on religious or aristocratic art, but looks instead to the products of popular and folk art, such as jewelry, tableware, illustrations, carvings, and textiles. All evoke the vivid creative imagination and strong visual culture of the middle ages. This book offers a major reassessment of the high medieval period. Medievalists and those interested in the history of language and customs will find it to be essential reading. Richly illustrated, it provides a brilliant and evocative picture of medieval Europe by a leading authority on medieval folklore. As Jones writes, gems and precious metals may dazzle the eye, but a pewter brooch, though it may look tawdry, is of more real significance and tells us more about the middle ages than a treasure chest of royal jewels.