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John N. Lupia

Type of ewer, usually of metal, used for the washing of hands in a liturgical or domestic context. It is often zoomorphic in form and usually has two openings, one for filling with water and the other for pouring. In their original usage aquamanilia expressed the symbolic significance of the lavabo, the ritual washing of the hands by the priest before vesting, before the consecration of the Eucharist and after mass. The earliest production of aquamanilia is associated with Mosan art of the Meuse Valley in northern France, and with Lower Saxony in north-east Germany. The majority of surviving examples are made of a variety of bronze that resembles gold when polished, while nearly all those made of precious metals are known only from church inventories.

Church documents refer to aquamanilia as early as the 5th century, when canon regulations stipulated that on ordination the subdeacon should receive such a vessel. Various documents from the 5th century to the beginning of the 11th sometimes use the term to denote both the ewer and its basin. Sometime after the beginning of the 11th century the term became transferred to a type of vessel, usually in the shape of an animal (e.g. lion, stag, horse; ...


Kathryn B. Gerry

Illuminated Gospel book (210×272 mm; London, BL, Harley MS, 76) made in the first half of the 11th century, probably at Canterbury, Christ Church. This is one of a group of manuscripts associated with the scribe and monk Eadui and several other unnamed scribes; other manuscripts in the group include the Eadui Codex (Hannover, Kestner-Mus., WM XXIa 36) and the Eadui Psalter (London, BL, Arundel MS. 155). The script in the Bury Gospels has not been attributed to these particular scribes, but the style of the remaining ornamental work is similar to others in this group. It is likely that the book was produced at Canterbury for export, either to Bury St Edmunds or some other house, perhaps commissioned by King Canute (reg 1016–35) and Queen Emma (d 1052). The manuscript was at Bury St Edmunds by the end of the 11th century, as shown by added material related to that house copied by a Bury scribe (fols 137...


Don Denny

Numerical list of concordant passages in the Gospels, devised in the early 4th century by the historian Eusebios of Caesarea. Such tables indicate passages to be found in all four Gospels, those found in two or three of the Gospels and those unique to a particular Gospel. In medieval manuscripts they appear as a series of pages, varying from seven to as many as nineteen, placed at the front of Gospel books and often included, preceding the Gospels, in full Bibles. It was customary to surround them with ornament and, despite the wide geographical and chronological range of this practice, the basic decorative format remained fairly constant. The tables are divided and framed by representations of architectural columns surmounted by arcades or, occasionally, pediments; pictorial matter is concentrated in the upper part of the design, which might contain decorative and symbolic bird and plant motifs as well as more explicit illustrative features, such as the Evangelist symbols or the Twelve Apostles. In Eastern manuscripts the tables are sometimes preceded by two or three pages of introductory text, similarly framed by architectural designs, and a further page of related ornament (e.g. a tempietto) might be included at the beginning or end....


Robert G. Calkins

Long scrolls, usually of parchment, containing the music and words of the liturgical chant for the Easter Vigil. Named after the opening word of the chant announcing Easter, ‘Exultet iam angelica turba coelorum …’, these rolls were used during the ceremony of the blessing and lighting of the Easter Candle, which symbolizes both the Pillar of Fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness and the Resurrection of Christ, the Light of the World, on Easter Day. This liturgy, derived from the Pontifical, is attributed to Bishop Landolfo I of Benevento (reg 957–82) and became widespread among the churches in southern Italy dominated by Montecassino Abbey. As a result, such scrolls were prevalent in the Benevento and around Montecassino from the 10th to the 13th centuries (see Montecassino, §2, (i)).

Although they served a liturgical function, these scrolls were primarily ceremonial display pieces. Decorated with large elaborate interlace initials in the Beneventan style, they also contain miniatures painted in a Byzantinizing style. The miniatures were often painted upside down in relation to the text, so that when the scrolls were draped over the pulpit and the deacon intoned the words of the chant, the congregation could see the succession of illustrations right side up (e.g. Bari, Mus. Dioc., Cod. 1)....


John Williams

Spanish silver reliquary (813×330×445 mm; León, Mus.–Bib. Real Colegiata S Isidoro) made for the relics of St Isidore, which arrived from Seville in December of 1063 as a result of King Ferdinand I’s subjection of the Muslim city. They were placed in a wooden chest covered with silver gilt and lined with silk fabrics of Islamic origin and deposited in the Treasury of S Isidoro, León. No previous Hispanic shrine of comparable size, technique, or iconography is known. In 1808 this shrine and one from the 12th century that had enclosed it were damaged during the Napoleonic occupation of S Isidoro; the reliquary was restored in 1847.

Around the sides are five repoussée panels illustrating, in a disrupted order stemming from the restoration, episodes from the Book of Genesis, three of them with their original inscriptions: the Creation of Adam (hic format[ur] ada[m] et inspirat[ur] a d[e]o); the Temptation of Adam...


In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....