Calendar leaf on vellum for August, from an illuminated Book of Hours, Use of Paris, with two small miniatures.[France], [c. 1420].



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Two miniatures depicting a farmer harvesting wheat with a sickle and a woman holding a sheaf of wheat, gold and pink border on left margin, in gold and other colours, 3 margins composed of leaves and flowers and a cat's head in gold, blue and orange, large 2-line initial at head and 4 single-line initials in blue and gold, miniatures 22 x 25mm.

Single leaf: 170 x 112mm. 17 lines, in a Gothic bookhand, in black and red ink,

Illustrations accompanying the calendar in Books of Hours typically depicted activities appropriate to the month and season. Accordingly here, the roundel on the recto depicts a man harvesting a crop of wheat, scythe in hand, under the heat of the sun. That on the verso depicts the zodiacal sign Virgo - a woman, dressed in red, holding a sheaf of wheat - traditionally associated with fertility and the harvest. In the Middle Ages, the figure of Virgo was also frequently conflated with that of the Virgin Mary; "wheat, too, was identified with the Virgin, and these Christian elements were incorporated into the calendar tradition inherited from antiquity" (Teresa Perez-Higuera, Medieval Calendars, 1998).

Stock Code: 242509

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