One of the most beautiful representatives of this genre: golden pictures of wild animals and fantastic mythical creatures

Oxford Bestiary

South England (United Kingdom) — Around 1210

Oxford Bestiary

Oxford Bestiary

South England (United Kingdom) — Around 1210

  1. One of the most beautiful representatives of the bestiary

  2. This codex is filled with gilded representations of creatures that reflect their own view of nature

  3. The animals are often depicted in sketches that are far from naturalistic, but literary in character

Das Bestiarium

Oxford Bestiary

Sixth Day of Creation

With the sign of benediction, God creates animals as he floats before a timeless and spaceless gold background: “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind’; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24-25)

Oxford Bestiary

Alternative Titles:
  • Das Bestiarium
  • Oxforder Bestiarium
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology
Short Description

During the High Middle Ages, bestiaries, moralizing illustrated books of animals, were extremely popular. The Oxford Bestiary probably ranks among the finest examples of its kind. It is a codex that is densely filled with gilded depictions of creatures whose depictions reflect a surreal view of nature: 130 miniatures within only 105 pages. In addition to the typical chapters dividing creatures into various categories, the manuscript also features an illustration of the Book of Genesis at the beginning of the codex.

Oxford Bestiary

Bestiaries, illustrated books of animals, whose moralistic contents relate to selected biblical texts, were highly popular in the late 12th century. The Oxfordian Bestiary probably ranks among the finest examples of its kind. The magnificent codex, richly embellished with gold leaf, not only exceeds itself with its marvelous, luminous opaque color painting and clear depiction of animals, plants and human beings, but also in its predilection for serene symmetry, refined ornament and frequent use of carefully executed patterns in the backgrounds. The pictures are irregularly dispersed throughout the text. According to our modern conception, the animals often depict a surreal view of nature: a crocodile with a serpent’s head and bird’s feet and a horned panther with rather arbitrary coloring are but a few examples of an astonishing iconography which, far from naturalistic sketches, was based on the free interpretation of literary models.

Fantastic Animal Pictures on Rich Gold Leaf

The book contains an overwhelming wealth of animal depictions: 130 miniatures within only 105 pages illustrate several chapters on nature and the qualities of animals; birds, snakes, worms, fish, trees, flint stones, as well as the nature of mankind. Of special interest is the illustration of Genesis in the beginning of the book, which is set amongst exceptionally enlarged and boldly narrative painted scenes.

Codicology
Alternative Titles
Das Bestiarium
Oxforder Bestiarium
Size / Format
244 pages / 27.6 × 18.3 cm
Date
Around 1210
Style
Language
Illustrations
About 130 miniatures with animal illustrations on richly gilded background
Previous Owners
Das Bestiarium

Oxford Bestiary

The Lion

Here we have one of the splendid full-page miniatures of this famous bestiary. It has a frame with an interlace pattern and gracefully transitions from green to red to purple and back to red. This brightly colored scene shimmers with burnished gold leaf backgrounds and depicts three scenes regarding lions in register.

In the top scene, a lion has chased down an ape and is about to devour the poor primate between two abstract trees with blue trunks and red leaves. The middle scene offers a contrast as the sympathetic-looking lion spares a man who is lying prostrate before him. In the bottom scene, the lion is afraid of a rooster or some other kind of fowl – an observation of how super predators can be easily startled by an animal reckless enough to face them.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Oxford Bestiary“

Das Bestiarium Facsimile

Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Oxford Bestiary – Ms. Ashmole 1511 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
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Das Bestiarium Facsimile

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1982
Limited Edition
4500 copies
Binding
The all leather binding is a faithful replica of a Romanic binding, presently in the possession of Austrian National Library in Vienna.
Commentary
1 volume by F. Unterkircher
Languages: French, German, Spanish

Transcription and translation of the text into German by F. Unterkircher, Vienna, scholarly commentary in preparation.
More Information
All folios are cut according to the original.
Regular price without login (like new)1,590 €
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