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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Prayer book
Italy, Milan, ca. 1430
MS M.944 fol. 2v

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Christ: Nativity -- Below roof of shed, Virgin Mary, nimbed, with joined hands raised, kneels before nude Christ Child, crossed nimbus, reclining in wattle manger, corner draped with white cloth. Joseph the Carpenter, nimbed, raising right hand, is behind Mary, and next to midwife, veiled, extending right hand. Ox and ass are at side of the manger. Rays, flanked by busts of four angels, nimbed, descend toward Christ Child. Another midwife crouches next to the manger, extending right hand to water in basin, holding jug with left hand. Swaddling clothes, sticks, and pruning hook are on ground next to her; fire is behind her.
Shepherds: Annunciation -- In background at right, rays descend from bust of angel, nimbed, to two shepherds, one seated, shielding eyes, the other looking up toward the angel. Six sheep graze near the shepherds.
Margins decorated with border of sweet pea flowers. In upper margin, scene title, NATIUITAS IH(ES)U XPI.
Beginning of prayer on feast of Nativity, December 25.

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