Canonical Book of Hours


This book of hours from Slovakia originated in France. Features that reflect French influence and provenance include the script, its decoration, and the initial letter “D” (Domine) with the motif of the Virgin Mary holding a book, and a heraldic shield bearing the arms of the white cross with the heart (the arms of the Order of Crucigeri) carried by two angels. Similarly, the content of the codex, mainly the structure of its calendarium, indicates that it arose within the milieu of an Augustinian monastery or of the Crucigeri Friars. The feasts of certain saints, including Saint Elisabeth, were added to the calendarium at a later date, indicating that the book was also used in Slovakia. The binding of the two silver-gilded plates is evidence of West European production of the 15th and 16th century. The parts of the binding do not form a consistent whole. They come from two different sources and were brought together only to bind this book. On the front are enamel figures of the four Evangelists situated at the corners; in the center medaillon, framed with a filligree ornament made of wound wire, can be seen a depiction of the resurrection of Christ. The back is covered a depiction of the crucifixion of Christ. This scene involves only the Virgin Mary and Saint John, but it is complemented by a view of the town on the horizon. At the foot of the cross a skull can be seen (the grave of Adam) and over the arms of Jesus are the symbols of the sun and moon (representing Christ’s promise of salvation). The inscriptions are a combination of Latin acronyms (INRI, MP) and Greek names (OX, Joannos). The spine of the binding is decorated with sculpted floral ornamentation.


Title in Original Language

Liber horarum canonicarum


Type of Item

Physical Description

164 folios : parchment ; 112 x 75 millimeters

Last updated: August 28, 2015