One of the things I’ve done during this lovely spring break is look at some watermarks on the medieval manuscripts at Amherst College. Watermarks are fun- the kind of picky challenge that sometimes pays off bigtime but often ends with just the small but fiddly satisfaction of having done something very precise.
I had a few volumes to work through, some of them with easy-to-identify watermarks:
One two-volume set (MS B 3.19) had many watermarks: some variations on a cross on top of three mountains, some variations on three circles, some heraldic shields with a fleur-de-lis and a crown, some with initials, some without… I made a chart. I like making charts.
Another made a lot of sense once someone identified it for me:
I thought about horned animals, based on part 1, but no luck. Couldn’t make heads or tails of the other part, and before I tried photoshopping them together, I was told that they’re shears, similar to, but not actually identical to, some of these.
And then there’s the last one. If there were such a thing as a were-octopus, this might be a picture of it. Or maybe it’s an early (for Western Europe) and confused picture of a kangaroo. A cross between an aardvark and a jellyfish (though the bunny ears on the side are a problem).
Most likely, while I’m poking through watermarks looking for other things, I’ll find this and suddenly it will make perfect sense.