Bibliotheca Schoenbergensis

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Bibliotheca Schoenbergensis

An Exhibition from the Collection of Lawrence J. Schoenberg

Books of Hours

Books of Hours

Books of Hours in the Age of Printing

Books of Hours in the Age of Printing

Books of Devotion

Books of Devotion

Books of Imagination

Books of Imagination

Books of Nobility

Books of Nobility

Books of Nature

Books of Nature

Arts of the Page

Arts of the Page

Leaves of Books

Leaves of Books

Peoples of the Book

Peoples of the Book

Introduction

We curators envy collectors. Unconstrained by the policies and institutional priorities that circumscribe our view of the marketplace, collectors are free to follow their vision and imagination as far as their wallets allow them. The collector's collection becomes a personal expression, a statement of values, a witness to a vision. For three decades, Lawrence Schoenberg has been collecting in an area reserved for the few: illustrated manuscripts from the medieval and early modern periods. This is not a niche for the timid or the occasional collector. The market for these manuscripts is highly competitive and extraordinarily demanding, requiring a kind of knowledge and discernment singular in the trade. Manuscripts from this period regularly attract an international clientele of elite institutions and serious collectors. Mr. Schoenberg's collection represents a studied appreciation of the artifacts and their history, as well as a careful evaluation of the market for them.

What is most striking about the collection is its breadth. Stretching from the eleventh to the eighteenth century, it includes monastic, university, and lay texts. There are manuscripts not only in Latin and western European vernaculars, but also in Hebrew, Persian, and Arabic. Texts in the collection deal with everything from prayer and liturgy to mathematics and horse breeding. Its codices contain spectacular illuminations as well as utilitarian illustrations. For the scholar, Mr. Schoenberg's collection is a rich banquet at which to dine. Here one can study the contrasts between public and private devotion, the evolution of the school curriculum, the practices of history, and some chapters in a yet-to-be written history of science and technology. The connoisseur can take special delight in notable provenances (Phillips, Ruskin, Libri, and Abbey); exquisite miniatures; an elegant portolan atlas; an early illustrated medical miscellany; and a fine sampling of Books of Hours. In short, the collection offers a grand tour of the traditions of illumination and illustration as they evolved in the codex manuscript.

The Penn Library is grateful to Mr. Schoenberg, a member of the Library's Board of Overseers, for allowing us to show a selection from his collection and to introduce the community of scholars at Penn to manuscript traditions they might not otherwise have seen. While Penn possesses a large and important collection of codices, the emphasis of the collection is exclusively on texts and the transmission of knowledge, rather than on the image. Thus, Mr. Schoenberg's library provides a signal opportunity for all of us to consider, reflect on, and appreciate the remarkable harvest of images that represent one of the major iconographic traditions in European history.

Several people have played important roles in realizing this exhibit, none more important than that of its curator, Dr. Lisa F. Davis. A skilled paleographer and codicologist, Dr. Davis brought a scholar's eye and a connoisseur's sensitivity to the task of organizing and describing this complex body of material. In this she was assisted by Roberta Dougherty, the Library's Middle Eastern Bibliographer, who described and transcribed the Arabic and Persian texts; Joseph Holub, the Library's Bibliographer for Iberia and Latin America and Gabriela Ramos, a noted Peruvian scholar and doctoral candidate in the History Department, who patiently read through and wrote up the Spanish cartas ejecutorias; and Adam Shear, a doctoral candidate in the History Department, who applied his impressive skills to the Hebrew manuscripts. Greg Bear of Special Collections designed and installed the exhibit. Dr. Paul H. Mosher, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, has been unfailing in his support for this project. And, of course, nothing would have been possible without the generous cooperation of Mr. Schoenberg, who has been encouraging from start to finish. To him and to Mrs. Schoenberg we are particularly thankful.

 

Michael Ryan
Director of Special Collections

Books of Devotion

Breviary

Germany, 1444

As was the practice during the fifteenth century, this manuscript separates the Temporale Offices (the holidays relating to the life of Christ) from the Sanctorale (the Saints' feastdays). The colophon, shown here on the right-hand page and the photograph, describes the manuscript as having been completed on St. Barbara's feastday (4 December) in 1444 at the Chapel of St. Katherine. Unfortunately, the name of the city has been scraped away, a common practice in previous centuries intended to disguise the manuscript's origins.

Parchment, 257 folios, 142 x 112 (106 x 80) mm, 1 column, 28 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic cursive script.

Arts of the Page

Collage of miniatures

Northern France (possibly Paris), 1470-1490

This collage consists of miniatures from what was originally an ornate and richly illuminated manuscript, stylistically reminiscent of Parisian work from the late fifteenth century. There exist three other collages from this same manuscript--one is also part of this collection. Altogether, forty-eight miniatures from this manuscript are known to survive. These illustrations depict several unusual subjects, including: St. Helen finding the True Cross (upper right corner); Christ being shown the tribute penny (lower left corner); and Solomon ordering the cutting down of the tree which would eventually become the Cross (lower right corner).

Parchment, 1 collage, 355 x 324 (each miniature 55 x 60) mm.

Leaves of Books

De mysteriis, chapters 8-9

St. Ambrose, Italy, late-eleventh century

This manuscript, the oldest piece in the collection, preserves a fine example of Italian Caroline script with its rounded character and typical Italian abbreviations. Because parchment was expensive to produce (usually requiring the use of a sheep's skin and the necessary loss of any future income from that sheep's wool), medieval monasteries were often forced to recycle old manuscripts, using their pages as flyleaves and pastedowns in bookbindings. Such was the case here; one side of the fragment was pasted to the inside cover of a book, to hold in place the turned-in leather of the cover. The side which faced out remained legible, preserving portions of two chapters of St. Ambrose's treatise on Christian mysteries.

Parchment, 1 folio, 195 x 160 (185 x 114) mm, 1 column, 31 lines, in Latin, written in Caroline script.

Books of Hours

The medieval Book of Hours evolved out of the monastic cycle of prayer which divided the day into eight segments, or "hours": Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Compline, and Vespers. By the early fifteenth century, the format of the Book of Hours had developed to satisfy the demands of private, as opposed to communal, devotion. These portable books are smaller in format than their monastic forebears, designed for use by individuals, with a liturgical system somewhat less complicated than monastic liturgy and more "user-friendly." A Book of Hours invariably begins with a liturgical calendar, listing feast days in chronological order along with a complicated method of calculating the date of Easter. The seven Penitential Psalms are usually included as well, and additional prayers (devoted to particular saints or personal issues) according to the desires and needs of the owner.

In Books of Hours are preserved some of the finest works of medieval art. Each section of the manuscript traditionally begins with an illuminated miniature that complements the prayers, to stimulate contemplation and meditation in the reader. Because they were expensive and spectacular works of art, the ownership of these manuscripts was limited mainly to royalty, nobility and the very wealthy. They are often adorned with coats of arms, and portraits of patrons may sometimes be found within the miniatures. As their popularity increased, an efficient system of book production and trade developed to match the demand for Books of Hours. Professional scribes produced the texts in one location, the miniatures were painted in artists' workshops, and the two brought together in the bookbinder's hall. Patrons could choose the texts and miniatures they wanted, or purchase complete, generic manuscripts in stationers' book shops. A thriving economy developed around the production of Books of Hours, especially in centers such as Bruges and Utrecht.

Books of Hours in the Age of Printing

It is often asserted that early printed books were designed to resemble the manuscripts they were soon to displace. Like many historical commonplaces, however, this one is both accurate and inaccurate. While it is true that, at first blush, early printed books can look a lot like manuscripts from the same period, this is probably less a matter of conscious intent than of limited design alternatives. It took time for the printed book to develop its own conventions, its own style sheet. Nowhere is this slow evolution more strikingly apparent than in early printed editions of popular liturgical and devotional genres. Books of Hours had a long life after the coming of the printed book. They continued in printed form through the seventeenth century, especially in France. Although they share similarities with earlier manuscript traditions, they also inaugurate some new directions. Above all, they often lack the elegance and sumptuousness of the illuminated manuscript. They represent the broadening of devotional traditions; they seem to speak to an audience that is wealthy, though not necessarily noble.

The two printed Books of Hours on display capture both the Janus-faced character of many books in the early sixteenth century and the arrival of a new vocabulary of the page by the early senventeenth century. Printed in the first quarter of the Xvth century 1519 in a typeface that evokes an older gothic batard hand, item 8 is redolent with full page and border illustrations designed to serve as devotional aids. Textual breaks and emphases are made by hand in blue and red inks. And yet, the crudeness of the woodcuts and the clumsy page designs reflect a book made to appear like something it was not: a livre de luxe. Item 9, on the other hand, strikes out in a different direction. Shorn of much of the iconography associated with the genre, it is set in a clean, roman face, generously spaced and leaded. In place of the rough woodcuts, we have more finely executed engravings. However, there are relatively few of them. The paucity of illustrations assumes, perhaps, a reader now comfortable with the printed word and less in need of images to sustain devotional practices. It may also reflect the coming of age of the typographic book and the conventions of reading it assumed.

Books of Nobility

Los Hidalgos

There was no greater or more absolute social distinction in early modern Spain than that between noble and non-noble. Together with the clergy, the nobility constituted a privileged estate. In addition to conferring status--it was once argued that a passion for nobility and an aversion to the bourgeois work ethic contributed to the decline of Spain--nobility provided tangible benefits. Nobles could not be taxed, nor imprisoned for indebtedness; they could not be tortured except in cases of treason; their possessions could not be taken from them in civil suits; and if they faced the threat of execution they could choose decapitation rather than hanging. There was considerable variety among the nobility, from the extraordinarily powerful and wealthy dukes of Alba or Medina Sidonia to the "mendicant" hidalgos, popular in period literature. In northern Spain, which had been Christian for centuries, as much as half of the population claimed noble status; indeed in Guipuzcoa and Vizcaya the entire population deemed itself noble! In the more recently conquered south, where the majority of the population worked on large estates and descended from Moorish families, only about one percent was noble. The Schoenberg Collection contains three cartas ejecutorias, that is, documents issued in the name of the king proving a certain person to be noble. Each of the three seems to have had a common origin: an attempt by the king's tax collector to add their names to the tax rolls. The cartas present the testimony of respected neighbors and elders who swore to the person's honor and reputation and to the antiquity of his nobility. While it was probably better never to have had one's status questioned, a handsomely bound carta ejecutoria could become a family treasure as well as indisputable proof of one's hidalguia. Despite the formulaic nature of their texts, the cartas are typically colorful and often exude a sort of folk charm which identifies them with a person and a place and which separates them from the higher traditions of European manuscript illustration.

Books of Imagination

Speculum Historiale

Vincent of Beauvais, Paris, ca. 1400.

Drawing on many sources and encompassing every imaginable topic, the Speculum historiale was the greatest encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. This copy includes only Book 75 through part of Book 78, describing historical events from the reign of Charlemagne in the eighth and early ninth centuries through the twelfth. The provenance of this manuscript includes some of the most famous (and infamous) names in the history of book collecting. The blue and gold fleur-de-lys device in the borders is similar to that used in manuscripts created for King Charles V and the Duc de Berry, both noted fifteenth-century bibliophiles. Although this copy is not recorded as having been a part of the royal library, its lavish decoration identifies it as of probable aristocratic commission. In the nineteenth century, the book belonged to bibliophile and thief Guglielmo Libri. Sir Thomas Phillipps, perhaps the greatest book accumulator in history, also owned the manuscript. This page shows the opening of Book 76, set during the reign of Emperor Henry II (d. 1024). The elongated illuminated initial "H" begins the chapter, which recounts the life and deeds of the English Saint Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1005.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 355 folios, 326 x 225 (212 x 153) mm, 2 columns, 37 lines, in French, written in Batarde script.

Peoples of the Book

The Islamic Manuscript Tradition

Authors in Islamic countries "published" their works by reading them aloud, or dictating from memory, in front of an audience. The dictated composition would be transcribed by one or more copyists and, in order to ensure the accuracy of the transcription, would be read back to the author. A reliable transcription secured the author's permission (ijazah) to transmit a work to others in the same manner. Booksellers themselves were often copyists, who would prepare copies to order or provide copies made by others for sale. After its introduction from China, paper began to be made in the Islamic empire as early as 800 A.D., and by the middle of the 10th century it had replaced papyrus. The preferred writing instrument was the reed pen. Paper was prepared for writing first by applying a sizing material and then burnishing the surface. Decoration of the text, whether in the form of simple rubrications, diagrams, or elaborate illuminations, was added after the text had been copied. Finally, the book was bound. Although printing made its appearance in Europe in the mid-15th century, printed books were banned for religious reasons in Muslim lands until 1712. In that year the Ottoman sultan issued a firman making it legal to print books on all subjects except Islam. Even then the use of printing did not become widespread and books continued to be reproduced in manuscript form well into the 20th century. Books on Islam and copies of the Qur'an did not begin to be printed in Islamic countries until the first years of the 19th century. The Islamic manuscript tradition therefore lasted a great deal longer than it did in European countries, explaining the relatively recent dates of most the Islamic manuscripts included in this exhibit.

Books of Nature

Trattato di varie cose attenenti a guerra, mosini, ague, pesi, mechaniche fortezze, et altro

Italy, 1687

Treatises on military machinery were extremely important in the early modern era when science and technology were transforming the art of war into the science of war. The ability to assault and seize fortified places was particularly important during a period in which the seige of the city and the protection of the city were at the center of military strategy. This heavily illustrated manuscript from the seventeenth century focuses on the variety of machines and machinery necessary to offensive and defensive success in war. Written in a careful, uniform hand, the manuscript has doubtless been copied from something else, most likely a printed book. The illustrations similarly suggest working from a model at hand. Indeed, it is likely that, like so many extant manuscripts from the seventeenth century, this codex has been derived from a printed book for circulation among an audience that may not have had access to multiple copies of the book. The illustrations resemble--grosso modo--those found in earlier machinery books by Ramelli, Zonca, and others. But the origins of the volume have yet to be determined.

Paper, 81 leaves, 311 x 225 (305 x 215) mm, in Italian, written in a cursive, contemporary hand.

Arts of the Page

Credo, from an antiphonary

Italy, fifteenth century

Containing the opening of the Nicene Creed, this leaf was part of a large antiphonary designed to be read by the entire choir at once. The initial "C" is historiated with a floating bust of God the Father, his right hand raised in benediction, his left holding an orb.

Parchment, 547 x 387 mm, 5 lines, in Latin, written in round Gothic script.

Peoples of the Book

al-Ikhtisar min al-maqalat min kitab Uqlidis (Abridgement of Articles from Euclid's book)

Syria or Iraq, 502-504 A.H. [1108-1111 A.D.]

Euclid's Stoicheia ("Elements") was written around 300 B.C. and remained the definitive textbook of geometry for the next 2,000 years. It was the first ancient mathematical book translated from Greek into Arabic, around 820 A.D. It was retranslated several times thereafter by Arab mathematicians who hoped to improve on the previous translations and to provide textbooks which would transmit the gist of the work in a simpler form. Evidence in the colophon suggests the present manuscript took its author two years to complete, which, along with frequent substantive corrections to the text, suggest that the book records the process of his reading and simultaneous epitomization of Euclid's Elements.

Between 1200 and 1400 Europe acquired the inheritance of Greek mathematics through the Arab world. It was the Arabic translations of Euclid, Archimedes and Ptolemy which revived interest in their works in Europe, and in some cases only the Arabic versions have survived. Arabic-speaking authors of the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faiths translated Greek works into Arabic, often through Syriac intermediate versions, some of which survive. In their mathematical works they also introduced Indian numerals (which we now call Arabic numerals). There is evidence that at least some parts of Euclid's Elementswere translated or summarized in Latin from an original Greek source by European authors around the 4th century A.D., but later authors writing around the 12th century found that the text available in its several Arabic versions was the more complete and clearer.

This manuscript was produced as part of the ongoing Arab assimilation of Greek mathematics and at the point in time when this inheritance began to be transmitted to the West.

Glazed paper, 92 leaves, 188 x 95 mm, 15 lines, in arabic, written in naskh.

Books of Hours

Book of Hours (use of Rome)

Paris, ca. 1575-1580

This manuscript was almost certainly written for use by a member of the French royal court. The greatly extended calendar is full of events directly relating to members of the Valois royal family. Births, deaths, travel itineraries, weddings, battles, and events pertaining to the struggle against Protestantism are recorded in detail throughout. One entry describes how Henri II travelled to Germany in 1551, leaving his wife, Catherine de'Medici, in charge. Another describes how the death of Francois II in 1560 left his wife, Mary Queen of Scots, a young, childless widow.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 93 folios, 146 x 103 (120 x 76) mm, 1 column, 17 lines, in Latin and French, written in Italic script.

Books of Hours in the Age of Printing

Book of Hours (use of Soisson)

Paris: Berthold Rembolt, 1519

A later binder of this book so trimmed the upper edge of the page that parts of the illustrated border are missing.

Leaves of Books

Canon law fragment with gloss

Rhine valley, mid-thirteenth century

Like the Ambrose leaf, these pages show the scars of having been cut out and pasted into the binding of another book. The text is from the Corpus Iuris Canonici, the "body of canon law" assembled in the mid-twelfth century by Gratian. Others added to and commented on the text of Gratian's work throughout the later Middle Ages, and the resulting text was eventually accepted as the authoritative collection of ecclesiastical law.

Parchment, 2 folios, 306 x 219 (171 x 110) mm, 2 columns, 41 lines, in Latin, written in Romanesque script.

Books of Nobility

Carta executoria

In favor of Juan Garcia y la Puente, Granada, Spain, 16 June 1543

This pleito de hidalguia (litigation to prove noble status) was made by Juan Garcia de la Puente of the town of Mora, whose troubles in part stemmed from having changed his residences over time. He was born in Baez, in the valley of Toranco, from which he moved at an early age, though he frequently returned. All ten witnesses to his family's good name are from Baez or from one nearby. Six of them are hijosdalgo themselves, and one is a curate. A compelling proof of his nobility is that Garcia was once imprisoned in Toledo for his debts but quickly released when it was known that he was noble. Moreover, it was recalled that his family never paid taxes or assessments, as did the "buenos hombres pecheros," the solid taxpayers of the community.

Parchment, 38 folios, 350 x 210 (330 x 212) mm, 35 lines, in Spanish, written in a rounded gothic hand.

Books of Imagination

Hystoires anciennes jusqu'a Cesar

Bourges or Loire Valley, ca. 1470

This richly illustrated and carefully written manuscript records the history of the world from the Creation through the reign of Julius Caesar, recounting Biblical narratives alongside ancient history and mythology. The lively, though sometimes gory, text was quite popular in the fifteenth century. Although it is here ascribed to Eutropius, the Hystoires anciennes also borrows heavily from medieval as well as other classical authors. This particular copy was illuminated for Yves de Fou, whose arms appear on the first page. Because the arms were altered after his marriage to include those of his wife, Anne Mourande, it can be concluded that the manuscript was probably completed before their wedding in the early 1470s. The style of the miniatures, attributed to at least four different hands, localizes the production of the manuscript to Bourges or the Loire valley. The page shown describes and illustrates the battle between King Pyrrhus (the father of Achilles) and the ruler of the Amazons, Queen Penthesilea. On the left, the armored queen leads her army on horseback to the defense of the Trojans. The actual battle is depicted on the right--the two armies fight before a castle, soldiers dying beneath their horses' feet.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 176 folios, 370 x 255 (254 x 155) mm, 2 columns (70 mm each), 47 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic cursive bookhand.

Books of Imagination

Hystoires anciennes jusqu'a Cesar

Bourges or Loire Valley, ca. 1470

This richly illustrated and carefully written manuscript records the history of the world from the Creation through the reign of Julius Caesar, recounting Biblical narratives alongside ancient history and mythology. The lively, though sometimes gory, text was quite popular in the fifteenth century. Although it is here ascribed to Eutropius, the Hystoires anciennes also borrows heavily from medieval as well as other classical authors. This particular copy was illuminated for Yves de Fou, whose arms appear on the first page. Because the arms were altered after his marriage to include those of his wife, Anne Mourande, it can be concluded that the manuscript was probably completed before their wedding in the early 1470s. The style of the miniatures, attributed to at least four different hands, localizes the production of the manuscript to Bourges or the Loire valley. The page shown describes and illustrates the battle between King Pyrrhus (the father of Achilles) and the ruler of the Amazons, Queen Penthesilea. On the left, the armored queen leads her army on horseback to the defense of the Trojans. The actual battle is depicted on the right--the two armies fight before a castle, soldiers dying beneath their horses' feet.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 176 folios, 370 x 255 (254 x 155) mm, 2 columns (70 mm each), 47 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic cursive bookhand.

Books of Imagination

Hystoires anciennes jusqu'a Cesar

Bourges or Loire Valley, ca. 1470

This richly illustrated and carefully written manuscript records the history of the world from the Creation through the reign of Julius Caesar, recounting Biblical narratives alongside ancient history and mythology. The lively, though sometimes gory, text was quite popular in the fifteenth century. Although it is here ascribed to Eutropius, the Hystoires anciennes also borrows heavily from medieval as well as other classical authors. This particular copy was illuminated for Yves de Fou, whose arms appear on the first page. Because the arms were altered after his marriage to include those of his wife, Anne Mourande, it can be concluded that the manuscript was probably completed before their wedding in the early 1470s. The style of the miniatures, attributed to at least four different hands, localizes the production of the manuscript to Bourges or the Loire valley. The page shown describes and illustrates the battle between King Pyrrhus (the father of Achilles) and the ruler of the Amazons, Queen Penthesilea. On the left, the armored queen leads her army on horseback to the defense of the Trojans. The actual battle is depicted on the right--the two armies fight before a castle, soldiers dying beneath their horses' feet.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 176 folios, 370 x 255 (254 x 155) mm, 2 columns (70 mm each), 47 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic cursive bookhand.

Books of Nature

Liber de natura rerum

Thomas de Chantimpre, Northern France or Flanders, ca. 1250-1270

Thomas (ca. 1201-ca. 1270), an Augustinian canon at Chantimpre in Flanders, later lived as a Dominican in LiParis, where Aristotle's writings were part of the university canon. The aptly titled "On the Nature of Things" served as a general introduction to the sciences for those to whom Aristotle was not accessible and influenced scientific writing for generations. This incomplete copy includes chapters on fish, insects and invertebrates, trees, cosmology and astronomy, herbs, springs, gems, winds and clouds, the elements, and the stars and eclipses. On the page shown here, Thomas describes and catalogues the appearance and habits of the locust and the centipede, among others.

Paper, 81 leaves, 311 x 225 (305 x 215) mm, in Italian, written in a cursive, contemporary hand.

Books of Devotion

Sacramentary (Cistercian use)

Italy, 1185-1190

This intriguing manuscript brings with it a long and interesting history. Produced in a twelfth-century Italian Cistercian house, it was used by nuns in the fifteenth century--some of the added prayers are written in the feminine plural. The manuscript was owned in the nineteenth century by author, artist, and social reformer John Ruskin, and passed from him to the great collector Major John R. Abbey. The marginal notations throughout the manuscript help to assign it a date of production. St. Thomas of Canterbury, added to the Cistercian liturgy in 1185, is included in the original text, while SS. Malachy and Martial, who became part of the Cistercian calendar in 1191, were later added in the margin. This indicates that the manuscript was produced no earlier than 1185, and probably before 1191. Shown here is the Preface to the Mass, which in this manuscript is recorded immediately before the Easter liturgy. The congregation's responses are indicated in red. The music is square notation on a three-line staff drawn in red, blue, and green.

Parchment, 134 folios, 359 x 240 (255 x 150) mm, 1 or 2 columns, 20 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic script.

Books of Hours in the Age of Printing

Book of Hours (Heures de Nostre Dame, a l'usage de Rome, Latin, Francois)

Paris: Sebastien Hure, 1519

This text has a well-preserved, gold-tooled contemporary binding that records the name of an early owner: "Anne" stamped in gold on the front cover, "Blanchard" on the rear. This valuable information confirms the persistance of the association of women with the devotional tradition of Books of Hours.

Books of Hours

Book of Hours (use of Rome)

Bourges or Loire Valley, first quarter of the fifteenth century

This manuscript is a fine example of early fifteenth-century book production. The miniatures, produced separately from the rest of the manuscript, were then tipped in by the binder. The calendar includes no surprises among its typical cluster of French saints, and the texts are standard--the four Gospel narratives of the Crucifixion, the Hours of the Virgin, the Penitential Psalms, the Hours of the Cross, and the Hours of the Dead. The manuscript is distinguished by the quality of the miniatures, their gold and white banded backgrounds characteristic of the Bourges region. This miniature of the Annunciation precedes Matins, the most elaborate of the Hours. Mary reads from a lectern outside a tent before her mother Anne's house (the inscription at the top of the structure in the background reads "Sanctae Annae Domnum," or Saint Anne's house). The Angel Gabriel kneels before her, his words written on the scroll he unfurls, as the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 98 folios, 134 x 84 (91 x 47) mm, 1 column, 24 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic cursive script.

Books of Nobility

Carta executoria

Carta executoria

In favor of Juan Gayton de Cuenca, Granada, Spain, 12 September 1578

In the case of this carta, the pleito de hidalguia was initiated in 1573 by three brothers in their thirties: Juan Gaytan de Cuenca, Francisco Gaytan de Cuenca, and Alonso Gaytan de Truxillo. They lived in Jerez de la Frontera, in southern Andalucia, an area only recently reconquered from the Moors. The case occured during the reign of Phillip II, a zealous Catholic who did not hestitate to use the Inquisition to prosecute heresy. It may be significant, then, that the carta claims emphatically that the brothers do not descend from "bastardos ni de moros ni judios ni conversos ni que ayan sido presos ni penitenciados por el Sancto oficio de la Inquisicion." They were thus legitimate, of old Christian family and pure blood, without taint of Jews or Moors. They claim, in fact, to have descended from one of the warriors who fought in the Reconquest of Spain. One witness recalls that their father and grandfather kept horses and had slaves, like all persons of quality did.

Parchment, 66 folios, 321 x 226 (311 x 215) mm, 34 lines, in Spanish, written in a rounded gothic hand.

Peoples of the Book

Collection of prayers

Turkey, Safar 889 H. (March 1484)

This collection of prayers may have been assembled for use by a non-Arabic speaking Turkish Muslim in his private devotions. Each prayer in Arabic is preceded by a commentary in Ottoman Turkish. At the end of the book, diagrams and tables are included for calculating the direction of Mecca from different latitudes-perhaps the book's owner intended to take it with him on travels in the Islamic lands, or perhaps its compiler hoped it would be copied and have wide distribution beyond his home country. In the late 15th century, when this book was compiled, the Turkish language was beginning to come into its own in the Ottoman Empire as a devotional language, alongside Arabic. At the same time the Ottomans were promoting the advancement of Islam and Turkish culture throughout their domain. They did not favor the use of print for the transmission of this culture, however, and Sultan Bayezid II (r. 1481-1512) would, only a year after this book was compiled, declare the possession of printed material to be forbidden. The Arabic colophon of this text gives its copyist's name as Ilyas ibn Khamzah [sic] 'Ali Niyat 'Ali ibn Khamzah. The spelling of the name Khamzah, perhaps for the Arabic name Hamzah, suggests the copyist was not himself a native speaker of Arabic.

Glazed European paper, 221 leaves, 140 x 112 mm, 11 lines, in Arabic with Turkish commentary

Books of Imagination

Guerino Meschino

Andrea da Barberino, Italy, 1472

The imaginative works of Andrea da Barberino (ca. 1370-1430s) represent a moment of transition from an older chanson de geste tradition of romance to the more adventurous and fantastic tales of the sixteenth century, popularized by Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso. Barberino's romances also reveal an important coming together of French and Italian literary traditions and the beginning of a more cosmopolitan, European style. The present manuscript underscores the ongoing importance of manuscripts in the age of the printed book since its text differs substantively from those of the first printed (1473) and later (1482) editions. The manuscript is also of interest because it has survived in its original binding of wooden boards held together by three exposed thongs which are sewn through the paper and pegged to the boards.

Paper, 214 leaves, 235 x 162 (236 x 163) mm, 32 lines, in Italian, written in a neat Humanist bookhand.

Books of Nature

Medical miscelleny

Paris, mid-thirteenth century

The seven texts in this manuscript were all required reading for medical students in Paris in the thirteenth century. Six of the treatises are translations from the Arabic and date from before the year 950: Johannitus, who wrote the Introduction ad artem parvam Galeni, lived in Baghdad in the ninth century; Philaretus wrote his study of the pulse in the first half of the seventh century; Isaac Judaeus was a Jewish physician who lived in Quairawan in the early tenth century. Three, probably four, of the texts in the manuscript can be attributed to Isaac: De dietis universalibus, De dietis particulares, the Liber urinarum, and the Liber elementorum. The Arabic texts were translated by Constatinus Africanus, a monk of Montecassino who died in 1087. The most recent treatise is Giles of Corbeil's study of the pulse, probably written at the beginning of the thirteenth century.

The manuscript includes fascinating illustrations of doctors at work (frequently dressed in Dominican habit). Within an historiated initial "Q" in the Liber urinarum, the illustration shown here depicts a doctor examing a urine flask and pointing to the patient seated before him. A guide sketch for the artist is visible below the text.

Parchment, 149 folios, 290 x 193 (190 x 125) mm, 2 columns (58 mm each), 44-46 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic script.

Arts of the Page

Nativity scene

The circle of Liberale de Verona, late fifteenth century

Unlike the manuscript fragments used in bookbindings, this miniature was cut out of its manuscript for its own sake, to be shown independently as a work of art. The painting was originally part of a truly spectacular Gradual, where it was the illustration for the beginning of Christmas Mass (the "P" of "Puer natus est"). Although similar in style to the work of Liberale de Verona (1445-ca.1529), this Christmas scene was probably painted not by Liberale himself but by an artist in his circle, perhaps Girolamo da Cremona, with whom he collaborated from 1472-4. Between them, the two artists produced some of the finest manuscript miniatures of the Quattrocento. An account book for their work during this period includes an entry dated 17 June 1473 recording a payment of 31 lire and 10 soldi to Girolamo for a "large miniature with the story of the Nativity of Our Lord"--this could very well be that same painting.

Parchment, 176 x 154 mm.

Books of Devotion

Office for the reception of novices into a nunnery, with Rules of the Order of the Penance of St. Dominic

Italy, late-fifteenth century

This manuscript may have been prepared as a gift for a young girl about to enter a convent. The Rules were written slightly later than the Office - perhaps by the mature nun herself - and include regulations on clothing, daily services, fasting, providing for the sick, and so on. The page shown here describes the rules for rising in the morning, for confession and communion, and for observing silence.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 10 folios, 178 x 129 (118 x 83) mm, 1 column, 22 lines, in Italian, written in Gothic rotunda script.

Leaves of Books

Unidentified text concerning Antiochus II (261-246B.C.E.)

Italy, twelfth century

Originally part of a large and beautifully written manuscript, this leaf was recycled for use in a binding and has since been damaged by time and water. The text is as yet unidentifed. The paragraph beginning with the red initial "A" in the left-hand column concerns the conquest of Ptolemais by Alexander, son of Antiochus II. This event is described, in similar language, in the Book of Maccabees. The text may be a Biblical commentary, or another version of the same narrative--the question awaits further study.

Parchment, 1 folio, 397 x 260 (342 x 188) mm, 2 columns, 50 lines, in Latin, written in Romanesque script.

Books of Hours

Book of Hours (use of Paris)

Northern France, mid-fifteenth century

In addition to the standard elements, this illuminated Book of Hours includes two French texts devoted to the Virgin Mary--the Fifteen Joys of the Virgin and the Five Joys. Each main section of the manuscript begins with a full-page illuminated miniature, ten in all, with wide borders filled with foliage and flowers. The binding is by Doll, a French binder of the early nineteenth century who also bound a traveling book collection for Napoleon.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 156 folios, 155 x 117 (152 x 94) mm, 1 column, 15 lines, in Latin and French, written in Gothic script.

Books of Nobility

Carta executoria

In favor of the nobility of Juan de Mena Gutierrez, Granada, Spain, 14 April 1606

The inclusion of Juan de Mena Gutierrez in the tax rolls in 1599 can probably be explained by the fact that though he was born in Caceres, he settled in Los Santos in Leon after he married. His case must have been strong since he only relied on three witnesses, all of them pecheros, or taxpayers. They pointed out that Mena's family had "cavallos regalados" and their family seal over the door to their home. His paternal grandfather had gone to the Indies to be governor of Santa Marta in what is today Colombia. His father never paid taxes and was memorialized with the family coat of arms on his tombstone.

Parchment, 52 folios, 316 x 212 (307 x 202) mm, 34 lines, in Spanish, in a rounded gothic hand.

Peoples of the Book

Dala'il al-khayrat (Guides to good things)

Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli (d. 1465), Levant, 17th or 18th century

The text consists of a collection of prayers for the Prophet Muhammad, a description of his tomb, lists of his names and honorary epithets, and a host of other devotional material for use by Sunni Muslims. It has seen many printed editions in modern times and is used by Sufi religious orders in Egypt as the basis of their public devotions to this day. It includes two large illustrations, one (p.[31]) representing the great mosque of Mecca, the other (p. [32]) representing the mosque at Medina and the tomb of the Prophet. Marginal annotations in red ink give the day of the week on which a particular prayer should be read and indicate separation of text into ahzab (1/60ths), so that it may be read easily over two months' time.

European paper, 91 leaves, 160 x 105 mm, 11 lines, in Arabic

Books of Nature

Metaphysicae, Ethicae, Economicae

Aristotle, Italy, late-thirteenth century

This compilation of three Aristotelian texts includes Latin translations by William of Moerbeke (ca. 1215-ca. 1286), one of the most productive and influential translators of Greek into Latin of his day. The manuscript is representative of the revival and popularity of Aristotle during this period, when his texts were the staples of a university education. Latin translations made Aristotle accessible to a general educated audience, who were much more likely to read Latin than the original Greek. The exhibited page shows the end of the Ethics on the left and the beginning of the Economics on the right.

Parchment, 77 folios, 307 x 218 (183 x 125) mm, 2 columns, 35 to 40 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic script.

Books of Devotion

Penitential Psalms and additional prayers, for use by a priest

France, late sixteenth century

The original portion of this manuscript contains the penitential Psalms and the Hours of the Dead. Additions on paper at the beginning and end of the manuscript append prayers to be said by a priest before and after Mass, for example, while robing. This page shows the beginning of the third nocturne, the final section, of the Matins Office of the Dead.

Parchment with paper additions, 69 folios, 130 x 87 (83 x 50) mm, 1 column, 20 lines, in Latin, written in italic script.

Books of Nature

Algorismus and Tractatus de sphaera

Sacrobosco, Italy, fourteenth century

In addition to a study of the fundamentals of arithmetic, this manuscript of work by the astronomer Sacrobosco (d. 1256) is accompanied by the text for which he is best known, his treatise on the heavenly spheres. On the right-hand page here exhibited, the nine spheres are illustrated and described in order: the moving heavens, the stationary heavens, Saturn, Jove (Jupiter), Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. In this celestial scheme, the Earth is at the center of the universe. A note on the left-hand page (between the two paragraphs) records that the manuscript was used by a Franciscan monk named Peter of the Order of St. John in 1399.

Parchment, 81 folios, 180 x 134 (125 x 80) mm, 1 column, 25 lines, in Latin, written in early Gothic script.

Books of Hours

Book of Hours (use of Sarum)

Bruges, 1430-1450

Although the liturgy of this Book of Hours is of English use, and calendar notations and a lengthy added rubric in Middle English speak to its English provenance, it seems likely that the manuscript was used by an outcast community of English Catholics on the Continent, not in England, after the Reformation. The binding appears to be Continental; there is a French inscription on the flyleaf; the name of St. Thomas of Canterbury has not been effaced (it was often damaged in English Books of Hours after the advent of Protestantism); and the illuminations have been confidently ascribed to Bruges.

As was common in this period, the illuminations in this Book of Hours were produced in a different workshop from the rest of the manuscript, purchased individually and sewn into the manuscript when it was bound. Of extraordinary importance is that all fifteen miniatures in this manuscript are signed with printed marks by the artist, a very rare feature that provides some insight into the mechanics of the booktrade at the time. The miniatures are by the Master of Otto van Moerdrecht, or by one of the artists in his circle. The printed mark in the upper right corner of each miniature (a white letter [I] within a red-filled circle) was a registered trademark, used in accordance with a Bruges statute requiring artists to use such stamps to identify their work as actually having been created in Bruges. This was in part an attempt to stem the flow of miniatures imported from other centers such as Utrecht. The trademark served the same function as a "Made in America" label--to keep business at home. Relatively few artists took this regulation seriously--these marks are rare--but their use here is a valuable record of the political climate surrounding the thriving book trade in the first half of the fifteenth century. The miniature shown here precedes the Prime office. A group of soldiers lead Christ before Pilate, who prepares to wash his hands in the basin to the right. The artist's mark is clearly visible in the upper right corner.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 179 folios, 189 x 128 (107 x 70) mm, 1 column, 19 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic script.

Arts of the Page

Chess scene

The Spanish Forger, France, ca. 1900

The Spanish Forger is one of the most famous frauds in recent history. Once sold as authentic medieval paintings and miniatures, the works of the Forger (who was in all probability not Spanish but French) are now prized and collected in their own right as forgeries. His identity is unknown, although he is thought to have been active in Paris around the turn of the century. Close to 200 works by him have been identified, mostly painted on wood panels or pieces of parchment from which the medieval writing has been scraped. Such is the case here. The other side of this leaf retains the original music of a fourteenth or fifteenth century Italian antiphonary. A secular theme such as the game-playing found here would be completely out of place in a liturgical book--such incongruities are common in the Forger's work, and often give him away.

Parchment, 187 x 134 mm.

Peoples of the Book

Collection of prayers and charms

Egypt, 18th century

Including several prayers inspired by the Qur'anic Verse of the Throne (Ayat al-Kursi), commonly used as a means of protection from evil, this manuscript also contains prayers (awrad) ascribed to Shaykh Ahmad Baha'i, the prophet Yahya (John of the Bible), and other religious figures. At the end of the text are two charms: one for love, the other a general prophylactic against evil. On the first leaf is the invocation "ya Kabikaj!," a spell to avert a book's destruction by bookworms.

Glazed European paper, 150 leaves, 173 x 116 mm, 11 lines, in Arabic.

Books of Devotion

Libellus de speculativa misticae theologiae

Jean Gerson, Northern France, ca. 1420

Jean le Charlier de Gerson (1363-1429) was an important figure in the history of university education, having served as Chancellor of the University of Paris from 1395. In addition, he was a major force in Church reform, working valiantly to heal the Great Schism and to establish the superiority of a general council over the Pope. Though neither religious effort was succesful, he is regarded as one of the leading theologians of his day. This manuscript is actually a compilation of four texts, three of which were written by Gerson between 1402 and 1409. The fourth text, De districtione in nocturnis pollutionibus, was written by Gerson's teacher, Pierre D'Ailly, who preceded him as Chancellor of the University. The manuscript was probably written in Gerson's lifetime, and as such preserves some of the earliest known copies of these texts. Early on, the manuscript was housed in the Carthusian monastery in Castres, France. This is a particularly interesting provenance for these texts, since Gerson is known to have held that monastic order in special esteem. The page exhibited shows the end of De passionibus animae on the left, and a schematic outline of the text on the right.

Parchment, 82 folios, 155 x 115 (103 x 72) mm, 1 column, 28 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic script.

Books of Nature

A treatise on practical arithmetic

Pietro Paulo Muscarello, Nola, Italy, 1478

Trade and commerce were powerful engines of literacy and education in Renaissance Italy. It was important that merchants and bankers be able to read, write, and calculate in the interests of business. By the fifteenth century, success, particularly in international trade, was directly related to the acquisition of verbal and numerical literacy skills. Business was not for the ignorant. Muscarello's handsomely illustrated treatise was written as textbook for young men who needed to learn elementary mathematics and geometry as part of their preparation for the world. It includes sets of practical problems for students to solve, each of which comes suggestively illustrated. The illustrations, in turn, are marvelous windows through which to view daily life in late fifteenth-century Italy.

This manuscript was quite probably written by the author himself--or at least that is what the evidence of the colophon here and in another, related manuscript points to. If this conjecture is true it would make this manuscript all the more important, as one of the relatively few examples of the author as scribe in the Renaissance.

Parchment, 113 leaves, 219 x 160 (212 x 155) mm, in Italian, written in a partially cursive bookhand.

Books of Hours

Book of Hours (use of Rome)

Utrecht, 1475-1500

In addition to the style of the miniatures, a Dutch provenance, and notes written in Dutch in the late fifteenth century, the inclusion in the calendar of St. Willibrod, Bishop of Utrecht (d. 739), points to the manuscript's probable origin there. The miniature shown here is the traditional illustration for the Seven Penitential Psalms: King David, his crown humbly resting at his feet, kneels penitently in prayer. His harp identifies him as the Psalmist. In the background is the city of Jerusalem, envisioned here as a series of Gothic edifices.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 129 folios, 111 x 76 (60 x 38) mm, 1 column, 18 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic script.

Books of Devotion

Lectionary (sanctorale and commons)

Rome (S. Lorenzo in Panisperna), late sixteenth century

This collection of readings for saints' feastdays gives the full nine readings for each saint, usually culled or paraphrased from standard narratives of the saint's life. The manuscript is very exclusive, including only fourteen saints for the entire year. Among these are St. Laurence, who is the only saint to be given two complete sets of lections. At the end of the manuscript are added lections for St. Marmenia, an early Roman martyr whose relics are kept in the church of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna, in Rome. She is not well known elsewhere. The emphasis on Saint Laurence and the inclusion of St. Marmenia virtually assure the origin of the manuscript in the church, which, during the late sixteenth century, housed a community of Poor Claires, nuns following the example of St. Francis. Lections for St. Claire are also included in the manuscript, as is the Franciscan Saint Louis of Anjou. The lack of lections for St. Francis himself is curious, and is as yet unexplained. The scribe (or a later owner) has attempted to spruce up the manuscript by adhering illuminated initials from 14th and 15th century manuscripts into place at the beginning of most lections. In many cases, the historiated initial chosen for a particular lection is not quite appropriate, or is completely out of place: on the left page shown here, a portrait of St. Peter (identified by the key to Heaven in his right hand) precedes a hymn for St. Laurence. In addition, the historiated initial is the letter "E", but the text it precedes begins with a "D" (which the scribe has duly written). On the right, an illustration of the Virgin and Child precedes the lections for St. Claire..

Fig. 1: Paper, 80 folios, 285 x 210 (204 x 140) mm, 1 column, 22 lines, in Latin, written in italic script.

Peoples of the Book

Megillat Esther

Italy, 15th century

Written in square Italian script with vowel points and cantillation marks, this manuscript of the Book of Esther is distinctive in at least two ways. It is part of a larger work--a miscellany--which contained other books of the Bible as well. The manuscript begins with the last seven verses from the Book of Lamentations. It may be that the Book of Esther was removed from the original miscellany for use on the Purim holiday, when the scroll of Esther is read in the synagogue. Added to the text are two liturgical poems, "Asher Heini" and "Shoshanat Yaakov," written in a semi-square (rabbinic) Italian Sephardic hand.

The manuscript is also noteworthy for its illustrations. Although it was originally laid out with provisions for miniatures, the work was never done. The illustrations that one finds in the manuscript today were recently executed by an artist who followed motifs from a number of well-known illuminated Hebrew manuscripts, including the De Castro Pentateuch, the Rylands Haggadah, the Kaufman Mishneh Torah, and the Prayer Book of the Rabbi of Ruzhin.

Parchment, 16 leaves, 60 x 87 mm, 16 lines, in Hebrew, written in Italian square script.

Books of Hours

Book of Hours (use of Bourges)

Northwestern France (Loire valley?), 1470-1480

The inclusion in the calendar of St. Launomarus (18 January) helps to localize this Book of Hours to Northwestern France or perhaps even the Loire valley. St. Launomarus was the abbot of Corbion, a small monastery near Chartres. After his death in the late sixth century, he was buried in Blois. His cult is fairly localized within the Chartres diocese and the Loire valley, and the inclusion of his feastday in the calendar, combined with the fact that the liturgy in the manuscript follows the usage of Bourges, also in the Loire valley, makes it fairly certain that the manuscript was produced in that region. This miniature precedes the Office of the Dead. Job, naked and unshaven, sits knee-deep on a dung heap as a friend attempts to console him in his misfortune.

Fig. 1: Parchment, 87 folios, 163 x 100 (97 x 58) mm, 1 column, 21 lines, in Latin, written in Gothic cursive script.

Peoples of the Book

Commentary to Beit Elohim and Sha'ar ha-Shamayim

Moses Almosnino (ca. 1515 - ca. 1580), Salonika, mid-16th century

This important codex, written in Sephardic semi-cursive script, consists of two unpublished texts: a commentary to the Beit Elohim, the Hebrew translation of Sacrobosco's De sphaera mundi, and a commentary to the Sha'ar ha-Shamayim, the Hebrew translation of Georg Peuerbach's Novae theoricae planetarum. The colophon of the first text indicates that it was written in Salonika for Peretz ben Yehuda Mintz Ashkenazi by Hayyim Luzio in 1551; the colophon of the second states that it was composed by Moses Almosnino in 1546 and was also copied by Luzio. It is possible that both texts were written under the supervision of their author.

Almosnino was a well-known rabbi and preacher in sixteenth-century Salonika who was learned in philosophy and science. In these works, he cites Euclid, Aristotle, Archimedes, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, Avicenna, Averroes, and Albertus Magnus, among others. The texts chosen for commentary were two of the most important sources for late medieval cosmography and astronomy. Beyond these, Almosnino presents a geography of the world, including a detailed, seven-page description of America. In fact, he is one of the few Jewish writers of the period to have commented on the New World.

Paper, 162 leaves, 268 x 187 mm, 40 lines, in Hebrew, written in a semi-cursive script.

Books of Nature

Portolan Atlas

Battista Agnese, Venice, ca. 1535-1538

Portolan atlases were sea charts that used a network of "thumb" lines centered on a compass rose to represent distances between points--literally, "port to port." The earliest extant portolans date from around 1300, but it is likely that they incorporate much older traditions, possibly stretching back as far as classical antiquity. Portolans were originally utilitarian documents of great value to sailors. They facilitated the navigation and exploration of the Mediterranean and, by the fifteenth century, of the wider world as well. Between 1300 and 1600 thousands of these atlases were produced, chiefly in Spain and in Italy. However, by the sixteenth century portolans became collectors' items. Artful cartographers sought to take advantage of this new market by producing luxury atlases like the one on display for the wealthy. Battista Agnese, who was active between 1527 and 1564, was one of the most accomplished and successful maker of luxury portolans. More than seventy of his atlases survive, of which this is a particularly early example.

The distinguished provenance of the atlas reflects the value of the genre in the sixteenth century. It was presented to the eminent scholar Paolo Giovio in 1541 by Tommaso Compeggio, Bishop of Feltre and papal diplomat.

Parchment, 7 double-page maps, 398 x 285 mm.

Books of Hours

Book of Hours (use of Rome)

Germany, late sixteenth or early seventeenth century

This manuscript is illustrated throughout with lovely biblical scenes drawn in a pastoral style. The manuscript itself appears to have been intended for use by a priest--prayers for the sacraments (e.g., Extreme Unction), and for before and after Mass, are interspersed among the otherwise standard contents. Two notable inclusions are a prayer "to the seven altars" and several votive prayers in German. The pages shown here illustrate the Hours of the Cross: on the left, the Crucifixion, and the Entombment on the right.

Parchment, 172 folios, 80 x 57 (67 x 50) mm, 1 column, 20 - 25 lines, in Latin and German, written in Humanistic cursive.

Books of Nature

Extratto da un libro de razza da cavalli

Ferrante I of Aragon (d. 1494), Italy, 1541

Ferrante of Aragon was well known for his love of horses, and for his knowledge of the science of raising and breeding them. His library contained many volumes on the subject, several of which may have inspired the unidentified work, ascribed to him, from which this text is extracted. The manuscript contains brief sections covering nearly every aspect of the care, training, and breeding of horses, from trimming their hair to knowing when a mare is pregnant.

Parchment, 49 folios, 228 x 155 (157 x 109) mm, 1 column, 19 lines, in Italian, written in a calligraphic italic script.

Peoples of the Book

[Qasa'id] Shah Qasim wa-ghayruhu min tasanifih ([Poems] and other works of Shah Qasim)

Iran, late 18th-early 19th century

This is a collection of ruba'iyat (quatrains) and qasa'id (lyric poems), in four sections, by an author identified only as Shah Qasim. He may be Mawlana Qasim, a poet of the Moghul court who flourished around the mid-sixteenth century. The decoration of the book was apparently not completed: towards the end of the text are empty spaces left for headings to be inserted in red ink, and one of the four sections is missing its illuminated 'unwan'(headpiece). The manuscript was once in the collection of the noted bibliophile, Sir Thomas Phillipps and bears a presentation inscription: "Given by Captain Thomas Mignan to Sir Thos Phillipps Bt 1827."

Glazed paper, 252 leaves, 212 x 116 mm, 1 and 2 columns, 13-14 lines, in Persian, written in nasta'liq script.

Peoples of the Book

Collection of poems

India, first half of 18th century

Collections of Ghazals (love poems) and ruba'iyat (quatrains) were common in the Islamic tradition. In addition to the illumination of the 'unwans (headpieces) and margins of the text, the entire page surface has been flecked with silver. The colophon gives the calligrapher's name, Muhammad ibn Walad Qasim ibn Mawlana Muhammad Rida. Previous owners were Abu al-Fazl ibn Ghiyath al-Din Mansur(?) and Anwar al-Dawlah, whose seal bears the date 1170 A.H. (1756 or 7 A.D.). This date has been used as a terminus post quem.

Glazed paper, 345 leaves, 180 x 85 mm, 1 and 2 columns, in Persian.

Selected bibliography

Contributors

Introduction
use of Rome
Book of Hours
use of Paris
use of sarum
use of rome
Book of Hours (use o
Book of Hours (use o
Introduction
Book of Hours (use o
Book of Hours (Heure
Breviary
Sacramentary (Cister
Office for the recep
Penitential Psalms a
Libellus de speculat
Lectionary (sanctora
Speculum Historiale
Hystoires anciennes
Guerino Meschino
Los Hidalgos
Carta executoria
Carta executoria
Carta executoria
De mysteriis, chapte
Canon law fragment w
Unidentified text co
Collage of miniature
Credo, from an anti
Nativity scene
Chess scene
Trattato di varie co
Liber de natura reru
Medical miscelleny
Metaphysicae, Ethica
Algorismus and Tract
A treatise on practi
Portolan Atlas
Extratto da un libro
The Islamic Manuscri
al-Ikhtisar min al-m
Collection of prayer
Dala'il al-khayrat (
Collection of prayer
Megillat Esther
Commentary to Beit E
[Qasa'id] Shah Qasim
Collection of poems