MS M.1044, fols. 10v–11r

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Gaston III Phœbus, Count of Foix

Livre de la chasse

Paris, France
ca. 1406–1407
381 x 290 mm

Bequest of Clara S. Peck, 1983

MS M. 1044
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The Reindeer
Phoebus had traveled to Norway and Sweden, where he claimed to have seen and hunted this "rather peculiar" deer. He was amazed by its many branched antlers, which were protective and could, he said, extend the entire length of its body. Phoebus included them for the sake of completeness. Georges Buffon (1707–1788), the French naturalist, mistakenly assumed, based on Phoebus, that reindeer could still be found in the Pyrenees in the late fourteenth century. The miniature, however, clearly shows it was not the case, as the artist apparently never saw one and depicted them as wool-bearing creatures. Some of them are correctly shown eating grass, which they ate in great quantities during the summer months.


Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern