Livre de la Chasse, by Gaston Fébus

Livre de la Chasse, by Gaston Fébus About the sicknesses of hounds and their remedies - f. 40v
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About the sicknesses of hounds and their remedies - f. 40v

Great care was taken of hounds for noble hunting would be impossible without them. But they are delicate animals. Even the best hound is useless when lame, perhaps simply because of a thorn or spine stuck into one of its pads. This is the problem that a kennelman kneeling in front of the very well-behaved hound sitting in the middle of the upper register is trying to remedy. Unfortunately, the miniaturist misunderstood the model and forgot to paint a lancet for incising and emptying the abscess in the hand of the man wearing a lilac-pink tunic. To his left, another kennelman sitting on a stool opens a hound’s jaws wide to examine its throat under the watchful eye of his hunt master in red garb. On the right, a greyhound’s eyes are being carefully examined. In the lower register, also against a background consisting of a meadow strewn with small shrubs, one man bathes a running hound’s paws, another examines the ears of what might be an ugly spaniel, and yet another runs his fingertips through a running hound’s coat to check for ringworm or thorns. Finally, on the far right, a kennelman dressed in red rubs the end of a greyhound’s paw, whilst the man above them carefully grooms another greyhound with a strip of cloth. All these treatments reflect the text by Fébus who demonstrates his extensive knowledge by devoting no less than ten folios to them.
 
Yves Christe,
Université de Genève

 

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