The ass had been introduced into the ritual of the church in the 9th century, representing either Balaam's ass, that which stood with the ox beside the manger at Bethlehem, that which carried the Holy Family into Egypt, or that on which Christ rode in triumph into Jerusalem.
How long before this the Nativity should be placed the Gospel does not enable us to say precisely, but as Herod's decree of extermination included all infants up to two years of age, and as a sojourn of the Holy Family in Egypt of unknown length intervened between the massacre and Herod's death, it is clear that it is at least possible, so far as the evidence of this Gospel goes, that the birth of Christ preceded Herod's death by as much as two or three years.
It is the seat of the School of the Holy Family and of York College (founded in 18go, co-educational).
At Mataria was a sycamore-tree, the successor of a tree which decayed in 1665, venerated as being that beneath which the Holy Family rested on their flight into Egypt.
Of works certainly executed by him during his years of travel there are extant, besides the Basel wood-block, only a much-injured portrait of himself, very finely dressed and in the first bloom of his admirable manly beauty, dated 1493 and originally painted on vellum but since transferred to canvas (this is the portrait of the Felix Goldschmid collection); a miniature painting on vellum at Vienna (a small figure of the Child-Christ); and some half a dozen drawings, of which the most important are the characteristic pen portrait of himself at Erlangen, with a Holy Family on the reverse much in the manner of Schongauer; another Holy Family in nearly the same style at Berlin; a study from the female nude in the Bonnat collection; a man and woman on horseback in Berlin; a man on horseback, and an executioner about to behead a young man, at the British Museum, &c. These drawings all show Diirer intent above all things on the sternly accurate delineation of ungeneralized individual forms by means of strongly accented outline and shadings curved, somewhat like the shadings of Martin Schongauer's engravings, so as to follow their modellings and roundness.