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Article

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; ...

Article

Katherine Forsyth

Illuminated Gospel book (Cambridge, U. Lib., MS. Ii.6.32) made in the 10th Century. This is the oldest extant Gospel book with a securely Scottish provenance. Housed since 1715 in Cambridge University Library, it belonged in the early 12th century to the monastery of Deer, Aberdeenshire, as shown by a series of property grants recorded in its margins. These notes constitute, by some three centuries, the oldest surviving documents in Scottish Gaelic. The Book is a small-format, abbreviated Gospels intended for personal devotion and intimate pastoral use. As such it is an exceptional survival from the period. It contains the complete Latin text of John’s Gospel, and the beginnings of the other three. At an early date the text of a communion service for the sick and dying was inserted on a separate leaf. The Book was produced c. 900 in a Gaelic-speaking milieu at an unknown location, possibly in north-east Scotland, perhaps at Deer itself. The scribe appears also to have been the artist. Despite its small size, the Book follows many of the conventions of Insular book art and is comparatively heavily illuminated. Its programme consists of ‘three cruciform pages, five Gospel incipits with decorated initials, five full-folio and one half-folio figurative miniatures, and a variety of marginalia’ which relate to points of significance in the text (Henderson ...

Article

Ben C. Tilghman

Irish illuminated Gospel book (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. 4. 23. (59)), with a short Missa pro infirmis inserted between the gospels of Luke and John, made in the 8th century. It consists of 74 folios and measures 175×142 mm, and is one of the distinctively Irish manuscripts known as ‘pocket gospels’, due to their small format. The traditional association of the manuscript with Dimma, a scribe and later bishop who miraculously wrote a copy of the gospels in 40 days for the 7th-century saint Cronan, cannot be sustained. The inscriptions in which his name appears include evident signs of erasure, indicating that the name of the original scribe was replaced with ‘Dimma’ in perhaps the 10th or 11th century, possibly at the same time that the Missa pro infirmis was added. The manuscript is in fact the work of several scribes. The synoptic gospels are written in an insular miniscule script alternating between bookhand and cursive forms, highly abbreviated and cramped in some places. The script for John is bolder, more regular, and refined. As with most other pocket gospels, each gospel is written on a separate quire, and each gospel begins with an evangelist portrait facing a page with display lettering. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are each represented as men holding books, while John is again differentiated by being represented as his symbol, the eagle. The book was enshrined in a ...

Article

Ben C. Tilghman

Illuminated manuscript (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. 4. 15. (57)) containing the Vulgate translation of the four Gospels, plus prefatory material derived form the Old Latin tradition, made in the 7th century. It measures 247×228 mm, contains 248 parchment folios, and is in a modern binding. No firm internal evidence indicates the date and location of the manuscript’s production, and the question of its origins has a contentious history, influenced occasionally by nationalist ideologies. A later colophon attributing it to St Colum Cille [St Columba] cannot be accepted as fact, but it is widely assumed that the book was made in a Columban monastery, whether in Ireland, Scotland, or Northumbria. It can be dated to the 7th century on stylistic and palaeographical grounds. The main body script is an Irish half-uncial, punctuated by display lettering at six major textual divisions and letters ringed in red dots at minor divisions. The programme of illumination includes a full-page depiction of the four evangelist symbols together around a cross, full-page depictions of each of the evangelist symbols (e.g. ...

Article

Roger Stalley

Manuscript of the four Gospels, in Latin, written and illuminated on vellum probably in the second half of the 8th century ad. It is the most extravagant and complex of the Insular Gospel books, representing the climax of a development that began in the 7th century ad with such manuscripts as the Book of Durrow (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 57; see fig.). The 340 folios (originally about 370; present size 330×255 mm) are now bound into four volumes (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 58). As well as the four Gospels the manuscript contains a sequence of ornate canon tables, decorated with architectural frames and symbols of the Evangelists, and other introductory material. St Matthew’s Gospel opens with a whole page devoted to the symbolic beasts (fol. 27v), one of several such pages designed to underline the harmony of the four Gospels. This is followed by a portrait of ...

Article

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....

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript (Moscow, Hist. Mus. MS. D.29). It is a small Marginal Psalter (195×150 mm) of 169 folios, in which broad spaces were left blank on the outer edges of the pages to be filled with numerous unframed illustrations, glossing the biblical text in various ways (see Early Christian and Byzantine art, §V, 2, (iv), (f)). The original text and captions to the illustrations were elegantly written in a small uncial script around the mid-9th century ad. In the 12th century, however, most of the text was crudely overwritten in minuscule, giving the book a messy appearance. This evidence of continued use over a long period is also reflected in the state of the miniatures, many of which are heavily worn and flaked, yet the manuscript is still more complete than two other roughly contemporary Psalters (Paris, Bib. N., MS. grec 20; Mt Athos, Pantokrator Monastery, MS. 61)....

Article

Term for one of the dated series of ivory diptychs (a hinged pair of oblong panels) that were issued by consuls of the Roman Empire on their succession to office. The earliest surviving consular diptych is that of Flavius Felix, consul of the West in ad 428 (one leaf survives in Paris, Bib. N., Cab. Médailles); the series ended c. ad 541, when the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (reg 527–65) abolished the civil consulate. One side of each diptych panel was carved, usually with the name, cursus honorum (list of offices), and likeness of the official in question, which provide chronological, prosopographical, and ideological information. Many of these diptychs were later used for Christian purposes.

J. Osborne: ‘A Drawing of a Consular Diptych of Anastasius (A.D. 517) in the Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo’, Echos Monde Class., 35/10 (1991), pp. 237–42C. Bertelli: ‘Un dittico “Longobardo”’, Acta ad archaeologicam et artium historiam pertinentia...

Article

Heather Pulliam

French illuminated manuscript (Amiens, Bib. Mun., MS. 18) containing the Gallican Psalter, canticles, litanies, and Fides Athanasii in Latin, in Maurdramnus script and made in or near Corbie c. 800. Elaborate initials, approximately 60 of which contain human figures, begin each psalm and canticle. The illumination fuses Merovingian, Byzantine, Sasanian, Insular, Lombard, and Carolingian styles. The iconography is multivalent and ranges from biblical persons to monks at prayer. Like the Utrecht and Stuttgart Psalters, the Corbie Psalter’s complex word–image relationships offer a rare glimpse into early approaches to Psalter illustration. The manuscript, along with the Vespasian Psalter, St Petersburg Bede, Gellone Sacramentary, and the Book of Kells, provides a significant witness to the development of historiated initials and predicts forms and motifs found in Romanesque initials.

The initials of Psalms 1, 50, and 100 are given special emphasis, suggesting a tripartite division of the psalms in the Irish manner. Scholars have also associated the Corbie Psalter with two manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (MS. lat. 13025 and lat. 4884), suggesting the possibility of a common artist or artists. The manuscript’s incomplete colour has been incorrectly described as unsophisticated, possibly due to the deteriorated state of many of its pages and the fact that the first few folios of the manuscript appear to have been crudely over-painted. In the small number of pages where the original colour survives in good condition, the careful application of naturalistic colour resembles that of the Lindisfarne Gospels while the layering of matte and iridescent colours matches the artistry found in the Book of Kells....

Article

Lawrence Nees

Carolingian Psalter (192×120mm; Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. 1861) made in the late 8th century. This remarkable illuminated Psalter has two poetic dedications, from Dagulf, the scribe who wrote it, to Charlemagne, and from Charlemagne to Hadrian (Pope Adrian I (reg 772–95)). It is the earliest royal gift to a pope to survive, although apparently it was never delivered. Adrian’s sudden death in 795 is probably the reason the book never arrived in Rome, and is one of the reasons it is likely to have been written in that year. Some scholars have thought that it was written as much as a decade earlier and the dedication poems added later, but this seems on the whole unlikely. It contains all of the Psalms, and the associated Old Testament canticles, and, as prefaces, an unusual and long series of Creeds and other texts. The two ivory panels that formed part of the manuscript’s original covers survive separately (Paris, Louvre; ...

Article

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)....

Article

Qum  

Massumeh Farhad

[Qumm; Qom; Kum]

Major shrine centre in central Iran. Sasanian remains in the vicinity suggest that the site may have been occupied in pre-Islamic times, but most medieval geographers and historians claimed that it was founded after the Muslim conquest in the 7th century ad. By 712–13 it had become a bastion for persecuted Shi‛ites, and throughout the medieval period it attracted members of the more extreme Shi‛ite sects. Under the Saljuqs (reg 1038–1194) Qum was celebrated for its madrasas, and it is still the most important centre of Shi‛ite theological studies in Iran.

Its reputation as a holy city is linked to the presence of the tomb of Fatima al-Ma‛suma, the sister of the eighth Shi‛ite imam, Riza. In 816–17, while en route to visit her brother at Tus in north-eastern Iran, she fell ill at Saveh, a Sunni town, and asked to be taken to nearby Qum, where she died and was buried. Her tomb acquired particular importance under the Safavid dynasty (...

Article

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....