MS M.890, fols. 8v–9r

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Fountains Abbey bestiary

England, probably North Yorkshire
ca. 1325–1350
227 x 152 mm

Gift of Alastair Bradley Martin, 1958

MS M.890, fols. 8v–9r
Page description: 

Left Page (Fol. 8v)
Mole: The pupil-less eyes of this mole draw attention to the creature’s blindness, emphasized in the bestiary description.

Hedgehog: A hedgehog crouches between two vines, perhaps looking to salvage grapes that the bestiary tells us they speared on their quills and transported home to their young.

Ants: A line of ants marches forward in unison, an example of cooperation and diligence.

Ox: This ox’s neck, tightly roped with muscle, reveals its time behind the plow as a beast of burden. The text alludes to more monstrous variations of the familiar animal, from the massive wild oxen of Germany, to the single-horned, horse-hooved oxen of India.

Right Page (Fol. 9r)
Camel: This drawing shows a camel at rest from the extraordinary feats of endurance such as traveling for days without water, bearing heavy burdens, and taking part in battles.

Dromedary: Although the text makes a point of distinguishing dromedaries from camels (e.g. by size, and by number of humps, speed), the two beasts on this folio look quite similar.