In the Middle Ages, textiles were variously used to preserve manuscripts, to increase their preciousness, to protect their bindings and their images, and to enhance the devotional experience of the reader. Along with other luxury goods like gold, ivory and precious stones, textile elements were one of the most often used; at the same time,Continue reading “TEXTILES”


Although precious stones constitute one of the most important ornamental elements of sacred scripture during the Middle Ages, their close association has never been systematically analyzed. As three-dimensional material entities mounted on the outer surfaces of codices, stones contribute to a transformation of the layers of written parchment into an object with sculptural qualities. WithContinue reading “PRECIOUS STONES”


Precious manuscripts with purple-colored parchment skins and texts written in gold and silver are known to have been made since antiquity. Christian sacred scriptures thus embellished are first mentioned by Jerome, who harshly condemned the practice as unnecessary luxury. Regardless of this critique, purple manuscripts flourished. The embellishment of parchment with purple colorants is aContinue reading “PURPLE SKINS”


Throughout the Middle Ages, precious metals were a crucial part of “high-profile” book ornament: they defined the “gold-standard”, so to speak, of a certain level of book decoration. Yet the way in which this standard was conceived of varied greatly in different periods and regions. In fact, no other component of book ornament could beContinue reading “GOLDEN BOOKS”