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Biblia figurata

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  • Illuminated Manuscript. Biblia Figurata/Bible. Parchment, iii modern paper flyleaves + 83 fols. + iii modern paper flyleaves, 158 x 109 (142 x 110) mm, ruled in black ink. 19th Century binding, gold tooled stiff-board vellum, leather tabs at beginning of biblical books. Parchment, ink, height, page, 158 mm, width, page, 109 mm, height, text, 142 mm, width, text, 110 mm, circa 1490-1500. Production place: Germany. CONTENTS: fols. 1r-2r Three short passages from the works of Ovid (Ex Ponto, III, 1, 157-8; Tristia, II, 31-2; Ex Ponto, III-IV, 79-82) and extracts from a letter of St Jerome, Epistula Ieronymi ad Paulinum de omnibus divinae historiae libris; fols. 2v - 82r Abridged text of each book of the Latin bible, excluding 2 Esdras. DECORATION: 1343 pen and ink drawings coloured in green, red, blue and yellow, and summarizing in a mnemonic fashion the contents of biblical books from Gn to Apc, chapter by chapter. The opening words of each chapter are written in red above the corresponding image. The drawings, normally 10 per page, are arranged mostly in four rows forming an hour-glass or tower shape consisting of three rectangular compartments in the top row (a, b, c), two circular ones in the second row, two rectangular compartments in the third row, and three in the fourth. The drawings illustrate a key word or phrase in the chapter or a narrative detail. An almost contemporary hand has written explanations in Latin within the compartments from Gn 1 to Sam 17, and more sparsely after that.
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