Trebizond Gospels
This Gospel book was probably made in Constantinople in the mid-12th century and is remarkable for the fine execution and monumental quality of its full-page miniatures. The opening for the Gospel of Matthew is missing, but the other three Gospels are prefaced with a pair of miniatures each: the respective Evangelist on the left and a scene from the Gospel story on the right. The combination of Saint John with the Raising of Lazarus is one found only in this manuscript. The text was copied by two scribes with distinctly ...
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Walters Art Museum
Cosmography
Created in England in the late-12th century, this manuscript was intended to be a scientific textbook for monks. The manuscript is brief, at nine folios, and was designed as a compendium of cosmographical knowledge drawn from early Christian writers, such as Bede and Isidore, as well as the later Abbo of Fleury. Those writers, in turn, drew on classical sources, such as Pliny the Elder, for their knowledge but adapted it to be understood through the filter of Christianity. The 20 complex diagrams accompany and help to illustrate the texts ...
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Walters Art Museum
Exegetical Works
This manuscript of works by Honorius Augustodunensis (also seen as Honorius of Autun) is one of the rare examples of an illustrated commentary on the Old Testament Song of Songs, preserved mainly in manuscripts from southeastern Germany and Austria. The manuscript, written in the monastery of Benediktbeuern, Bavaria, around 1170, features a title piece and three miniatures on books two to four, that is, the full cycle of illuminations. Honorius follows the allegorical interpretation of the marriage of Christ and his Church, depicted in the title piece. In books two ...
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Bavarian State Library
Dialogue in Praise of the Holy Cross
Dialogus de laudibus sanctae crucis (Dialogue in praise of the Holy Cross), written between 1170 and 1180, and once owned by the Benedictine monastery of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg), Bavaria, contains a text in praise of the Cross, which has come down only in this manuscript. The text, written by an unidentified author, is in the form of a didactic dialogue between “Magister” and “Discipulus,” the teacher and a pupil. It relates the history of salvation to the Holy Cross in the so-called typological exegetical tradition. The text ...
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Bavarian State Library
Miroslav's Gospel
Miroslav’s Gospel is a liturgical work that is considered the most important and the most beautiful of Serbian manuscript books. It was created around 1180 by two student monks for Duke Miroslav, the brother of Stefan Nemanja, grand prince of the medieval Serbian state of Rascia. Written on parchment in Cyrillic uncial (the Cyrillic script that developed from Greek in the 9th century), it is a monument to early Serbian literacy. The work is decorated with approximately 300 stylized miniatures of outstanding beauty, and is representative of a group ...
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National Library of Serbia
Yoshitsune Leaving for Oshu Province
This picture scroll illustrates the story of Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159-89), a military commander at the end of the 12th century, and his legendary retainer Benkei (?-1189). Yoshitsune’s older brother Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-99) became suspicions of his younger brother’s ambition after Yoshitsune achieved a series of military successes. Yorimoto had Yoshitsune expelled from Kyoto. Yoshitsune sought the protection of the Fujiwara family in Hiraizume, Oshū province, but in the end was hounded to death and forced to commit suicide by his powerful brother. The tragic story of Yoshitsune and ...
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National Diet Library
Soga's Robes
Nara-ehon are illustrated manuscripts or hand-printed books and scrolls produced in Japan from the Muromachi period (1336-1573) through the middle of the Edo period (1600-1867). This rectangular nara-ehon depicts the story of the Soga brothers, Soga Jurō Sukenari (1172-93) and Soga Gorō Tokimune (1174-93), and their quest for revenge for their father's death. The Soga Monogatari (Tale of the Soga brothers) tells how, after 18 years of hardships, the brothers fulfill their quest, but also how Sukenari is killed and Tokimune captured and executed by Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-99), the ...
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National Diet Library
Mishnah Commentary in Judeo-Arabic
This manuscript contains commentaries on the Mishnah by Maimonides: on Seder Moed (from the middle of tractate Eruvin), and on Seder Nashim. The manuscript shows hand-written corrections and emendations by Maimonides himself, as well as notes added in the margins by his son, Abraham he-Hasid, and by David ha-Nagid II and others. The headings are written in Sefardi square script. The manuscript was purchased in Damascus in 1908 by the Toledano brothers, who sold it to the noted bibliophile David Solomon Sassoon (Collection no. 72-73) and his descendants. It was ...
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National Library of Israel
Historic Records of the East Capital of the Northern Song
Dongdu shi lue (Historic records of the east capital of the Northern Song) is a history of the nine courts of the Northern Song (960–1127), mainly consisting of a series of biographies, beginning with Taizu Jianlong (reigned 960–63) and ending with Qinzong Jiankang (reigned 1126–27). The book is divided into 12 juan of general historical information, five juan on high official families, 105 juan of biographies, and eight juan of supplements on the non-Chinese dynasties of Liao (Khitan), Jin (Jurchen), Xi Xia (Tangut Empire), and Jiaozhi (Giao ...
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National Central Library
Images of Bishamonten
This work is a print of Buddhist images called syubutu or inbutsu. The print was originally placed in the internal cavity of a wooden standing statue of Bishamonten, considered a protector of the teachings of the Buddha. This particular Bishamonten was housed in a statue at the Yamato Nakagawa Temple, which prospered in the late Heian period as a branch of Kōfukuji Temple in Nara. The print has seven Bishamonten impressions, four on the upper part of the page and three on the lower part, each approximately 17 centimeters tall ...
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National Diet Library