MS M.890, fols. [i]v–1r

Download image: 

Fountains Abbey bestiary

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

Gift of Alastair Bradley Martin, 1958

MS M.890, fols. [i]v–1r
Page description: 

Right Page (Fol. 1r)
Lion 1: The flame-like fur of this lion’s mane differs from the curly manes of the other lions on the folio; according to the text, a straight mane is a sign of a lion’s ferocity, on full display here as the maneater sinks its teeth into its victim.

Lion 2: The lion was a type for Christ, because lion cubs were thought to be stillborn for three days before the male lion breathes life into its cubs, as shown here.

Lion 3: Here a lion is shown demonstrating its awful roar, so terrifying that it paralyzed its enemies with fright.

Lion 4: This lion’s heraldic stance (passant guardant) represents the lion’s status as king of beasts and contributes to the aristocratic character of the manuscript.