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In the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, this small medieval manuscript consists only of 44 folios. It is completed dedicated to death and consists of three parts: La Danse Macabre; Des trois Morts et des tres Vis; La danse macabre des femmes. This manuscript dates from the 15th century [1].

The available copy is in grey tones only, but contains a number of snails. Like in similar manuscripts, these snails are highly stylised and all positioned in the border. Nearly all snails have an eyespot and two tentacles only; most of them have a mouth (humanised).

BNF_MS Français995_f9vBNF_MS Français995_f9v_d

On folio 9v in the upper border a dextral specimen is seen. The animal has an angry expression; the tentacles seem segmented.

BNF_MS Français995_f18rBNF_MS Français995_f18r_d

Folio 18r, in the lower border, a sinistral snail is present. The shell has spiral sculpture, and a thickened apertural lip.

BNF_MS Français995_f19rBNF_MS Français995_f19r_d

On folio 19r, the snail is in the upper border, the greater part of the tentacles outside the border. Here too there is a spiral pattern in the dextral shell, the animal with longitudinal striation.

BNF_MS Français995_f23v24rBNF_MS Français995_f23v_dBNF_MS Français995_f24r_d

Folio 23v and 24r are two opposite pages, both with a snail in the lower border. On folio 23v a whitish, sinistral snail; folio 24r with a darker morph.

BNF_MS Français995_f30vBNF_MS Français995_f30v_d

In the lower border of folio 30v, another sinistral snail is seen. In style this is very similar to the previous ones.

BNF_MS Français995_f32v33rBNF_MS Français995_f32v_dBNF_MS Français995_f33r_d

Folio 32v and 33r is another pair of opposite pages with snails. On folio 32v a dextral specimen is directed downwards the stem of a flower. The shell is distinctly partitioned with axial ribs. Folio 33r shows a sinistral snail upside down; the shell has spirally marks and the animal longitudinal ones.

BNF_MS Français995_f35v36rBNF_MS Français995_f35v_dBNF_MS Français995_f36r_d

Yet another snail can be seen on folios 35v and 36r. The very similar, sinistral snails are respectively in the upper border and the lower right corner. Especially the one of folio 36r shows spiral rows of dots; this could be the interpretation of hairs on the shell.

BNF_MS Français995_f37rBNF_MS Français995_f37r_d


Folio 37r has another example of a sinistral snail, this time in the upper border.

BNF_MS Français995_f39vBNF_MS Français995_f39v_d

On folio 39v, the snail is in the lower right corner. It is a sinistral specimen and of the “spiral” type.

BNF_MS Français995_f42v43rBNF_MS Français995_f42v_dBNF_MS Français995_f43r_d

Finally, folio 42v / 43r shows the last pair of snails in this manuscript. Both are of the “spiral” type and are positioned in the upper borders. On folio 42v a sinistral specimen is see. Folio 43r shows a dextral specimen; the animal extends outward to the left. While the shell is seen in top view, the aperture is in full view (although partially obscured by the animal), which could not be the case if the scene was realistically drawn.

[1] BNF, Ms. Français 995, 44 ff. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9059983v.