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Panel 04 - Nativity of Nicholas; his mother receiving her post-partum meal
Panel 04 - Nativity of Nicholas; his mother receiving her post-partum meal
Description:
Medieval medicine placed considerable importance on the new mother's first meal directly after childbirth, since it was believed that it could directly affect her chances of survival and the quality of her milk. In later medieval and Renaissance Europe, this first dish became an excuse for ceremony and celebration and gave birth to a whole new form of artistic production in the so-called desche da parta - elaborately painted trays on which sweetmeats and other treats were brought to the mother. In 13th century visual narratives however, the bringing of the post-partum meal was simply a staple ingredient, or topos, helping to indicate nativity scenes.