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Article

Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Thirteenth-century Ashkenazi illuminated Bible (Milan, Ambrosiana, MSS. B.30–32 INF). One of the earliest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts originating in Germany, it is a giant manuscript in three volumes, containing the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. As attested by a colophon at the end of the first volume, the Bible was commissioned by Joseph ben Moses from Ulmana, possibly referring to Ulm in Swabia or to Nieder-Olm in the Rhineland. The Bible was copied by Jacob ben Samuel and was massorated and vocalized by Joseph ben Kalonymus in collaboration with another masorete. The first part was completed between 1236 and 1238. The three volumes were illuminated by two artists, whose style is related to the 13th-century school of Würzburg. Illustrations with biblical scenes are located mainly within the initial word panels of the various biblical books, or at their end. Some of the illustrations carry a messianic or eschatological meaning. A broad cosmological composition occupies an opening at the end of the third volume, suggesting an impressive climax for the entire Bible. The full page miniature on the right illustrates the seven heavens, accompanied by the four animals of Ezekiel’s vision and the luminaries (fol. 135...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Hebrew Bible (Jerusalem, National.. Library of Israel., MS. Heb 4°790, and a single page in Toledo, El Transito Synagogue and Sephardic Museum), copied c. 1260, perhaps in Toledo by Menachem ben Abraham ibn Malikh for Isaac bar Abraham Hadad, both members of known and documented Toledan families. At some later stage further decorations were added, apparently in Burgos. The Damascus Keter is an outstanding exemplar out of approximately 120 decorated Bibles from Iberia and belongs to a group of three very similar codices from the middle of the 13th century, produced in Toledo. It thus represents a rich tradition of Jewish art flourishing between the 13th and the 15th centuries. These Bibles were used either by scholars for private study, or for biblical readings during synagogue services.

Typical of numerous Bibles from the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula, the decoration consists of numerous carpet pages executed in Micrography and enriched by painted embellishments. This is a technique typically used in Hebrew decorated books and harks back to Middle Eastern manuscripts of the 10th century. Apart from the carpet pages, the Damascus ...

Article

Volume of a large selection of texts, from the Hebrew Bible to 13th-century Jewish writings, copied from c. 1280 to 1290, the first part of which was lavishly illuminated in the late 13th century; some miniatures were added to the end in the second decade of the 14th century (London, BL, MS. Add. 11639). Although of modest size (binding 170×130×85 mm), it contains an enormous variety of texts, 55 copied in the justification of the leaves and 29 copied in the margins, and a veritable treasury of images. The leaves, of very fine parchment, are numbered to 746, but there are in fact 749: 5–739 from the 13th century, 740–45 from the 14th century, and folios 739A and 744–6 added in the 15th.

The Miscellany contains a complete set of the Books of the Bible except for Chronicles (although Prophets is represented only by the readings of the annual cycle), including even the Books of Judith and Tobit from the Apocrypha, a very unusual feature. It also has the prayers and hymns for all the festivals together with their Bible readings, the ...

Article

Katrin Kogman Appel

[Mahzor]

Illuminated Hebrew prayerbook for holy days in two volumes (vol. 1: Wurzburg(?), 1272; vol. 2: late 13th century; Jerusalem, N. Lib., MS. heb. 4°781). As is common for Ashkenazi Machzorim, the Worms Machzor does not contain statutory prayers, but optional liturgical poems (piyyutim), common according to the Ashkenazi rites. The two volumes that currently constitute the Worms Machzor did not originally belong together, but must have been joined at some later stage during the history of the book, when it served the community of Worms . Textual evidence points at the possibility that the second volume reflects the local prayer rite of Worms and did not originate in Würzburg.

It is primarily the first volume that stands out in terms of decoration, whereas the second is sparsely illuminated. The decorations appear as initial word panels, large arches framing several of the text pages, and marginal scenes on the outer, upper, and bottom margins, some of which were trimmed during later bindings. The scenes relate to the contents of the ...