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A Bestiary

A Bestiary

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1200

Shelfmark: Royal MS 12 C.xix

Item number: f.6r

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

Bestiaries relate the behaviour of real and imaginary animals to the behaviour of Christ and humans. For example, ants work together for the good of all, and Christians should do the same; the pelican feeds its young with its own blood, just as Christ saved Christians by shedding his blood on the Cross; lion cubs are born dead, but come back to life after three days, just as Christ was dead for three days before his Resurrection. The entertaining verbal and visual images in books such as this one provided memorable anecdotes for sermons and other kinds of moralising literature. The style of its pictures resembles that of manuscripts made in Durham, suggesting that it, too, was made in Northern England.

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