This week’s medieval marginal image comes from an early 14th-century Festal Psalter (The Hague, KB, 78 D 40), available at the excellent, if slow, website of the National Library of the Netherlands.
As the masters of understatement who edit the Wikipedia put it, “This Biblical story has long been a favourite of painters, since it offers a chance to depict oriental splendour, semi-nude women, and exotic scenery under the auspices of a Biblical subject.”
The illuminator of our manuscript decided instead to take the opportunity to depict a woman with no skeleton, or possibly the first recorded instance of breakdancing. Somehow, this is not how I pictured the famous Dance of Seven Veils–a fully clothed woman bending herself into the letter “O” and winking back at me while she does.
Like last week’s image, this one, too, is paired with another to its left in the bottom margin. There’s not much to say about it, but here it is, for completeness’ sake, the scene of Salome receiving John the Baptist’s head, her reward for the forbidden dance of back-bending passion:
*Or perhaps you saw her in that Oscar Wilde play where she’s a necrophiliac. Depends where you spend your Sundays, I guess.
**Those pictures are High Art,™ and not prurient at all, and I’d buy your outrage more if I didn’t know where you spend your Sundays.