This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.
Open Content images tend to be large in file-size. To avoid potential data charges from your carrier, we recommend making sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network before downloading.
A Hunter Blowing His Horn and a Beaver
Thérouanne ?, France (formerly Flanders) (Place created)
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 19.1 × 14.3 cm (7 1/2 × 5 5/8 in.)
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.
Illuminated Gothic Manuscripts (January 20 to April 5, 1987)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 20 to April 5, 1987
Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Musicians and Instruments in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (January 25 to April 10, 1994)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 25 to April 10, 1994
The Glory of the Gothic Page (December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004