MS B.18 f.1r, lower panel

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Manuscript description

Centred around a hairy beast beating a barrel-shaped drum, this scene features tumblers, a group of mimes(?), a man playing a viol, and another playing a horn. The figures are compressed, agitated and chaotic, and the beast's heavy paws are in sharp contrast to David’s supple fingers in the upper panel. The music of this lower panel is thus an animal, irrational, and carnal music, to which the body abandons itself when it is no longer under the control of the soul. The scene is highly moralising, with the two tumblers to the left of the beast falling in the literal sense of the word. Above them the horn blower alludes to hunting, reinforcing the sense of animality. From the initial leaf of MS B.18, a triple psalter. Reims, early 12th century.

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