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A Hunter Blowing His Horn and a Beaver
Thérouanne ?, France (formerly Flanders) (Place Created)
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 83
Leaf: 19.1 × 14.3 cm (7 1/2 × 5 5/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 83
In the midst of an exciting pursuit, a hunter blows his horn while his dogs attempt to capture a beaver. Although this beaver is not depicted with the familiar broad, flat tail usually associated with the animal, in the Middle Ages it was believed the beaver's main characteristic was its gentleness. It was also thought that a beaver's testicles had a special medicinal value. According to this text, the beaver allegedly escapes with his life when hunted by biting off his own testicles, as is shown here. In terms of Christian symbolism, the beaver represents a willingness to sacrifice anything that hinders the ability to devote oneself to Christ.
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