March 3, 2021

Guess that Medieval Beast 7

         This is a beast that is not featured in the true bestiaries, but does regularly show up in the various encyclopedias of natural history that are closely related.  This particular depiction comes from the hand of an artist we’ve seen before in Medieval Beast Number 2.  It’s a copy made around 1450-1500 of Der Naturen Bloeme, which was originally written about two centuries earlier, and it has an attractive blending of color and rich gold background.  This creature clearly lives in the water, where it has the tusks and trunk of an elephant, the tail of, perhaps, a lizard, dorsal and pelvic fins of a fish, and hind feet with cloven hoofs like a goat.  Like many of this artist’s subjects, it looks fairly friendly and I find it charming…  But what do you suppose it could possibly be?

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