Occupational Hazards of the Medieval Stripper (Mmm… Marginalia #26)

This week’s marginal image comes from Bodleian Library MS Douce 62, a late fourteenth century Italian book of hours:

As you can see, it’s a naked lady* talking to a monkish grotesque.  I rather doubt there’s anything theologically significant about it, but I imagine their conversation goes a little something like this:

MONK: …and then then they made me their chief.
NAKED LADY: Yes, yes, a very witty story, and I’m certainly glad I heard it from the beginning rather than being teased with just the ending, but I can’t help asking if that is a second head growing out of your… well, out of your whatever is going on down there.
MONK: It might be, or I might just be glad to see you.
NAKED LADY: Ah.  Yes.  I see.  Is that a monk growing out of your crotch, or are you just glad to see me? Is that it?
MONK: Don’t be silly.  He’s never taken holy orders.  

An odd way to close out Mmm… Marginalia for 2008, I’ll admit, but all the medieval-porn-seeking Googlers will be happy.  I may have finally delivered.

*And though the illuminator made a general mess of her head, he was fairly attentive to the anatomical detail elsewhere on the naked lady, as you can see if you click to expand the image.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anne Gilbert

    Well, the top part of him looks like a monk. Maybe the author put that bottom part so it could be an “antimonk”. Who, of course, turns his thoughts to the naked lady. . . .

  • autumngrrl

    Ahhhh. A Fast Show watcher 🙂

  • Bearded Lady

    funny! The sad part is that I was so focused on the naked lady that I didn’t even see the extra head until you pointed it out. Do you know what is at her waste?

  • Got Medieval

    My best guess is an enticingly sheer scarf, but it’s kind of faded there, no doubt from generations of book of hours devotees’ piqued attention.

  • Anne Gilbert

    Gee. I didn’t notice the garment at all. I did kind of notice her um, lower part was sort of covered up by something, though. I thought it was her hand, artfully placed.

  • Amanda

    Actually it looks like she’s trying to get off … maybe the “monk” caught her in the act 😉

  • Anne Gilbert

    Maybe the monk was part of the act?
    Anne G

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