Aberdeen Bestiary, Folio 55v, Phoenix, 12th century
The Bestiary appeared in its present form in England in the twelfth century, as a compilation of many earlier sources, principally the Physiologus. A great deal of its charm comes from the humour and imagination of the illustrations, painted partly for pleasure but justified as a didactic tool 'to improve the minds of ordinary people, in such a way that the soul will at least perceive physically things which it has difficulty grasping mentally: that what they have difficulty comprehending with their ears, they will perceive with their eyes' (Aberdeen MS 24, f25v). See What is a Bestiary? - University of Aberdeen.