The Book of Felicity

The Book of Felicity f. 16v, The Image of Leo


f. 16v, The Image of Leo

Far from being threatening, the Lion is an amusing animal floating in the sky, almost as if it were swimming. Its long, curved tail, large mane and expression like that of a domestic cat make it look entirely docile. The rider is the Sun sitting, or rather standing, in all his sunray splendor on the lion’s back. He wears a gold and red tunic and a very long, ribbon-like belt knotted at the waist whose ends float in the air. Curiously, instead of holding the crown of rays, the Sun’s right hand touches his chin in what can be interpreted as a gesture of surprise or puzzlement.
Saturn makes his first appearance in the manuscript as the first of the lords of the decades. He is a dark-skinned man with a white beard, dressed in tight short trousers using a long shovel. Jupiter follows, sitting quietly and holding a book. In the third decade, Mars has his mace and severed head but is shown standing in this case.

Stefano Carboni
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Curatorial Assistant in Islamic Art
 (Fragment of the Book of Felicity commentary volume)

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