What is the Prophet Ezekiel clutching in this illumination, from Palat. 386, fol. 141r (Parma, Biblioteca Palatina)? A sheath? His engorged bowels? Or something else?
The illumination illustrates Ezekiel 3.3a: “And he said to me, son of man, make your belly eat and fill your bowels with this scroll”.
In a recent article which discusses the illumination, Lila Yawn (“The Italian Giant Bibles”, 2011) makes this interpretation: “A Bible in Parma … shows Ezekiel clasping an object of an unexpected sort – not the parabolic or rectangular scroll, or rotolus, held by other prophets in the manuscript …, but rather a clublike protuberance, apparently a large erection, swelling from the prophet’s groin.”
I think it is rather more likely that the illuminator has interpreted et viscera tua conplebuntur (ומעיך תמלא) as the engorgement of Ezekiel’s bowels, having been filled with a long scroll. But it’s admittedly hard to tell.