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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Book of hours
France, probably Rouen, ca. 1470
MS M.32 fol. 51r

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Christ: Nativity -- Beneath starry sky and rays issuing from arc of heaven, two angels kneel with joined hands raised, between Virgin Mary, nimbed, with joined hands raised, and Joseph the Carpenter, extending hands, both kneeling, flanking Christ Child, nimbed, nude, emitting rays, reclining on Virgin’s mantle on ground, all in front of ass, tied to shed structure, and ox. All under shed with decorative wall and bed (?), and wattled fence. Landscape with trees and city in background. Margin, right: 1) Beneath starry sky one of three shepherds plays bagpipe, the second, wearing hat, plays recorder, and the third carries pedum-like staff in left hand. Figures on path in landscape with hill and trees in background. 2) Centaur, wearing headgear, on grass amid flowers Margin, lower, reading from right to left: 1) Augustus: Prophecy of Sibyl -- Augustus, name inscribed OCTOUIEN, wearing imperial crown, with hands raised, kneels looking up toward cloud-edged arc of heaven, emitting rays, enclosing bust of Virgin Mary, nimbed, holding Child Child, nimbed, nude. Tiburtine Sibyl, inscribed SIBILA, wearing headdress, stands, looking up, raises right forefinger toward vision. Scene in landscape with trees and hill in background, within medallion. 2) Archer, wearing hat, drawing bow in arrow, on grass amid flowers. 3) Augustus: Edict of Taxes -- Augustus, crowned, wearing ermine collar, is seated on canopied throne, extending right hand holding edict with pseudo-inscriptions and pendant seal, toward extended right hand of kneeling man, holding hat in right hand, in front of five men, four wearing hats, one wearing ermine collar, and two with hands extended, all standing. Figures in room with decorative wall and window. Margins decorated with floreate and foliate decoration including daisies, currants and grapes against gold background.

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