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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Book of Hours
France, Paris, ca. 1500
MS H.5 fol. 69r

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Upper register:
1) Innocents: Mourning Mothers -- At left, mother, partially veiled, kneels holding dead infant, bleeding from wound in head. Above, Herod, as half-figure, wearing crown, with hands crossed, appears in window of castle. Beside him is another man, wearing hat.
2) Innocents: Massacre commanded -- At center, Herod, wearing crown, sits on draped throne upon platform and beneath canopy suspended from ceiling. In his left hand, he holds sword and extends his right forefinger toward soldier, wearing armor and helmet, holding scimitar with left hand and extending right hand. In foreground is dog, wearing collar, sitting on ground.
Beside Herod is man, wearing hood, raising right forefinger.
In background is group of soldiers, wearing armor, one raising right hand, most with only tops of heads visible.
Scene in room, with window open onto cityscape of Jerusalem.
3) Innocents: Massacre -- At right, soldier, wearing armor, holds in right hand sword with which he beheads infant held by mother, partially veiled, touching the soldier's head with her right hand. On ground reclines infant, bleeding from wounds.
In background, second mother faces soldier, who raises sword in right hand.
Scene in landscape setting, with buildings on hills in distance.
Lower register:
Flight into Egypt, Miracle of Cornfield -- Joseph the Carpenter, wearing hood, holding walking stick in left hand, leads ass upon which sits Virgin Mary, nimbed and veiled, holding in her lap Christ Child, rays as nimbus, holding spherical object in his right hand.
Behind them is cornfield, within which is half figure of farmer, wearing hat, raising right hand. He converses with soldier, wearing armor, mounted on horse, raising right forefinger, beside second soldier, on horseback, and group of soldiers (only tops of heads visible), some holding spears. Two more soldiers (only heads visible) walk though path in field.
Miniatures are within architectural frame, with two statues of half-figure men within niches above outermost columns.
Top of frame is inscribed CO(M)ME HEROD FIST TUER (IN)NOCENS SON FILS TUE. Between upper and lower registers, frame is inscribed HEROD LES (IN)NOCENS.
Duck within decorated initial D and head of bear (?) within another decorated initial D.

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