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How To Steal A Cub From A Tigress, In A Bestiary

How To Steal A Cub From A Tigress, In A Bestiary

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1235

Shelfmark: Harley MS 4751

Item number: f.3v

Length: 30.1

Width: 22.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

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. The text explains that a tiger can outrun a man on a horse, so in order to steal a cub and escape, the thief should throw down a mirror, and the tigress will stop to look at its own reflection, thinking it is her cub.

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