Livre de la chasse
Bequest of Clara S. Peck, 1983
The hart, or stag, was the favorite and most noble game for the French hunter, and thus Phoebus began his manual with it. Because of its strength, fleetness, and cunning, it was an ideal candidate for the hunt. King Modus specified that stag hunting season fell between the two feasts of the Holy Cross (May 3 and September 14), but that sometime around the feast day of Mary Magdalene (July 22) was best, for then the stags were in great condition. According to earlier legends repeated by Phoebus, stags could live a hundred years and their antlers, as well as a special bone in the heart, had the power to heal.
The miniatures for each animal usually depict both male and female specimens and their young. Here are four great old stags, four hinds, and a calf. The animals are shown in a clearing in the woods with a blue sky in the background. The miniatures precede the texts for each chapter.
Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern