Peridexion tree
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Source: British Library Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts Copyright Copyright 2004 British Library / Used by permission Manuscript description British Library, Harley MS 3244, Folio 58v


 

Peridexion tree

Latin name: Peredixion

Other names: Circa dexteram, Environ destre, Paradixion, Pendens, Perindens

A tree in India that attracts doves and repells dragons

 

 
General Attributes

The peridexion tree grows in India. Doves gather in the tree because they like the sweet fruit, and because there they are safe from the dragon. The dragon hates the doves and would harm them if it could, but it fears the shadow of the peridexion tree and stays on the unshaded side of it. The doves that stay in the shadow are safe, but any who leave it are caught and eaten by the dragon.


Allegory/Moral

The doves are the faithful Christians, who are safe from the devil as long as they remain in the church. Christ is the right side of the tree, the holy spirit the left side. The devil is afraid of the church and will not come near, but the Christian who leaves the church should beware.

The Aberdeen Bestiary has a slightly different interpretation: " Take the tree as God, the shadow as his son... Take the fruit to be the wisdom of God, that is, the Holy Spirit." The rest of the allegory is basically the same as usual.


Illustration

The illustrations show a tree full of doves, with a threatening dragon held at bay. In some case the dragon has caught an unwary dove that has left the safety of the tree. In Bibliothèque Municipale de Douai, MS 711 (f. 38v) the dragon lies below the tree, with a dove in its mouth; oddly, four of the doves appear to be hanging from the tree by their beaks, in a way reminicent of the barnacle goose.


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