Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 6838B


Produced: Northern France, 13th century
Current Location: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France
Manuscript Type: Bestiary
Bestiary Family: Second
Language: Latin
Folios: 42
Illustrated: Yes
Media: Parchment
Sample page - Bibliothéque Nationale de France lat. 6838B
Folio 21v


A fully-illustrated second family bestiary. The 120+ illustrations are mostly colored drawings; only a few have backgrounds or borders. The text is in four sections: wild and domestic animals, birds, reptiles and fish.

  • Beasts (mostly mammals): folio 1r-19v.
  • Birds: 20r-30r. Most of the images are simple drawings of the bird shown in profile, with no effort to illustrate the bird's attributes.
  • Serpents (including lizards and dragons): folio 30v-35v. An empty space on folio 35v has a small sketch of a serpent by a later hand.
  • Worms (not illustrated): folio 36r-36v. This is a list with brief descriptions of several kinds of "worms".
  • Fish and sea mammals: folio 36v-40v. The illustrations in this section are unusual; many of the fish are drawn at the edge of the sheet, partly hidden, so it looks like they are swimming onto the page. There are accounts (some illustrated) of fish that are the marine counterparts of equivalent land animals: sea-pig, sea-crocodile, sea-wolf, sea-serpent, etc.
  • Trees and other plants: folio 40v-42r. This is an unillustrated list of various plant names with brief descriptions.
  • Fire stones: folio 42v. Not illustrated.

This bestiary is not included in any of the published bestiary family lists. Based on its similarity to other manuscripts, it appears to be a Second Family manuscript.

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Bibliothèque Nationale de France