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This manuscript psalter-hours for the use of Metz (Hours of the Virgin, Office of the Dead) was written and illuminated in France, probably Metz, between 1370 and 1380. It is now in the Piermont Morgan Library [1].

Folio 060v is described as follows “Psalm 052 (Vulg., 051): David, crowned, stands with hands raised before devil. Scene on gold background within foliate initial Q.
Left margin: Bird. Lower margin (bas-de-page): Man wearing fool’s cap and holding sword and shield defends himself against snail, sitting on hill in which rabbit looks out from burrow”.

PMM_m88.060v

PMM_m88.060vb

This is another variant of the ‘knight v. snail’ theme.

Folio 177v is described as “Christ: Deposition — Christ, crossed nimbus, in loin cloth, is lowered from Cross. Virgin Mary, nimbed, veiled, holds right arm; Joseph of Arimathea supports torso with draped hands; Nicodemus removes nail from feet. Scene on green background decorated in gold within foliate initial A. Left margin: Bird. Right margin: Bird, possibly crane. Lower margin (bas-de-page): Snail pulls cart containing barrel.”

PMM_m88.177v

PMM_m88.177vb

What else than wine could be in the barrel? And if so, would the snail then be a Helix pomatia (the ‘vineyard snail)? Mysterious…

Note:
[1] PMM, inv. Ms. M.88, 214 ff. [corsair.themorgan.org, search ‘snail’ #316, 317]

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