A Dormouse And Hedgehogs Collecting Grapes, In A Bestiary
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
In addition to their often attractive illustrations, bestiaries are appealing because--with their combination of real and misunderstood facts, fantasy, and religious interpretation--they seem to offer us a window into the medieval person's view of the natural world. They have traditionally described by scholars in terms of being natural history books, but recent research has shown that from the 12th century onwards the bestiary was used largely as a source of theological inspiration for sermons, rather than for information about animals. This copy is related to other manuscripts which may have been made in Salisbury.
Hedgehogs were believed to gather grapes on their needles, in order to carry them home to their young.