MS M.890, fols. 9v–10r

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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. 9v–10r
Page description: 

Left Page (Fol. 9v)
Ass: The familiar ass, described as a hardworking, yet obstinate animal, is depicted with naturalistic details, including large ears and pointed fetlocks.

Wild Ass: Unlike the tame ass depicted on the same folio, the wild ass rears aggressively. The bestiary connects its hungry braying at the equinox to the Devil’s ravenous search for souls.

Right Page (Fol. 10r)
Eagle: An aging eagle flies toward the sun before bathing in a fountain three times —a ritual thought to rejuvenate the eyes and wings of the majestic birds, and which symbolizes the powers of baptism.

: These birds are shown back to back because vultures were thought to reproduce in the absence of copulation (parthenogenesis).