The Aberdeen Bestiary, a beautifully illustrated manuscript that dates back to the twelfth century and which once belonged to King Henry VIII, can now be seen by the public for the first time at the the University of Aberdeen. The new exhibition Gilded Beasts began yesterday at the university’s library and will run until August 18th.

Bestiaries were illustrated books of animals, some real and some mythological, used to provide Christian moral messages. They were popular in the 12th and 13th centuries but few were as lavishly produced as the Aberdeen manuscript, which has been in the care of the University for almost four centuries.

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