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An Elephant And A Dog, In A Collection Of Medical And Herbal Texts

An Elephant And A Dog, In A Collection Of Medical And Herbal Texts

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1195

Shelfmark: Sloane MS 1975

Item number: f.81v

Length: 31.3

Width: 25.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This manuscript lists herbs and other plants, animals, and birds, and their medicinal uses. Each is illustrated, but the representations were apparently copied from other manuscripts, rather than from life (it would usually be very difficult to identify the subjects of the miniatures without the aid of the text). This manuscript is related to several others, which seem to have been made in the north of England, perhaps Durham. Elephant ivory, powdered and mixed with honey, is said to remove disfiguring marks and blemishes from the skin. Parts of dogs could be used for many cures; the ashes of a mad dog's skull was thought to be a particularly powerful medicine.

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