Chronicle of the World


The manuscript of the Weltchronik (Chronicle of the world) presented here was produced in about the year 1300 in the Passau region of Bavaria. With its 240 parchment leaves, the manuscript is not as extensive as one might expect from its title. The strange-looking ancient style of 159 miniatures in gold and bright body colors, interspersed in the text, shows its debt to the so-called Zackenstil (jagged style). The abstract geometric treatment of garments and other fabric, which are placed in strongly angled folds, and the resolute gestures and movements of the characters, especially evoke the impression of being frozen in action. The wide oval faces have a uniform expression. However, the way that an arm, leg, or axe frequently overflows the edge of a frame, the expressive gestures of oversized hands, and the twists and turns of heads in the images nevertheless give the figures a strong sense of momentum. The miniatures probably hark back to a southwest German source, the relationship of which to the original Weltchronik manuscript of Rudolf of Ems is unsettled. The codex is also decorated with an abundance of red-and-blue fleuronnée lombards (pen-flourished initials) at the beginning of each section of the text. In addition, there are eight tendril-like initials with dragons in gold and body color at the beginning of individual books. In the 17th century the codex was owned by the Munich patrician Ferdinand Barth of Harmating. It was passed on to the library of the Count of Törring-Gutenzell, who eventually sold it to the Bavarian Court and State Library in 1909.

Last updated: January 10, 2018