Gum tempera and gold on paper
Page: 37.6 x 26.6 cm (14 13/16 x 10 1/2 in.)
Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.319
The dragon threatens to singe the boar’s beard.
A magical plant simultaneously brings forth and eats animal life in multiple forms. Playfully rendered, real and mythic creatures ripen on the vine. All stems issue from the elephant, who is about to eat the main branch, while he, in turn, emerges from one that is about to be cut by the teeth of an ibex at the lower right.
This painting would have beguiled courtly connoisseurs who enjoyed discovering visual puns in a royal album. Learned viewers would note that an animal-bearing plant recalls medieval Persian stories about the mythical island of Waq-waq, inhabited by half-plant/half-animal creatures.
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