Les Enluminures

Morgan MS M.1093, f. 60v

3. Hours of the Virgin
Infancy Cycle

Adoration of Magi

The Gospel of Matthew (2: 1-11) offers a brief account of wise men “from the east” who found Jesus by following a star; they lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worship him. The depiction of the wise men as kings in Christian iconography confirms that, from the moment of his birth, Christ was recognized as king on earth. The feast of the Epiphany on January 6 commemorates this event.

Two magi, one wearing contemporary clothes and holding reliquary-like a vessel in his hand, and the other wearing a crowned hat and an ermine-trimmed mantle, holding a round vessel in a draped hand, stand behind third magus, kneeling beside a crown placed on the ground and holding in both hands a chalice-like vessel of gold coins. A nude Christ Child is seated in the lap of the Virgin Mary; behind her appears Joseph holding a staff in his hand. The dilapidated shed has holes in the roof, but a brocade cloth of honor on the wall. The floral and foliate margin also includes a hybrid man holding a saber.