Rothschild Canticles (f. 5r): Palma contemplationis
Original Country
Sorting Title
Rothschild Canticles (f. 5r): Palma contemplationis

Description: The 7 steps of mystical acent are represented as 7 branches of a palm tree, upon which Christ is crucified. On Christ's right are birds with positive connotations of eternity and resurrection: a peacock, swan, phoenix, and a white bird. On Christ's left are sinister birds with connotations of darkness, sin, and death: owl, a lion with wings who mauls a man, and a black winged bird who attacks an insect. This is the only extant manuscript illustration of the Palma contemplationis with the exception of later woodcuts.

Creation Date
c. 1300
Style Genre
Work Type
ca. 118 x 84 mm
Format Medium


Original Location

Flanders or Upper Rhineland

Related Work

The seven steps of mystical acent described by the Palma contemplationis is complimented by representations of the 7 liberal arts of Philosophy and Theology.
Rothschild Canticles (f. 6v): Seven Liberal Arts (Grammar, Astronomy, Arithmetic, and Geometry)Rothschild Canticles (f. 7r): Seven Liberal Arts (Music, Logic, and Rhetoric)


Collection of William Alexander Douglas, Duke of Hamilton and Brandon.
Reverend Walter Sneyd, gift from Douglas in 1856.
Sotheby, sold 16 December 1903, no.513 Bernard Quaritch, London.
Collection of Edmond de Rothschild, MS 98, sold 24 June 1968 no.1 in Paris, Palais GalliƩra.
Acquired from H.P. Kraus in 1968 as the gift of Edwin J. Beinecke.

Current Repository

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Repository Number
MS 404
Image of Rothschild Canticles (f. 5r): <i>Palma contemplationis</i>.