Psalterium cum Antiphonis [Front cover]
File name: 09_03_000059
Title: Psalterium cum Antiphonis [Front cover]
Date created: ca. 1475
Physical description: medieval manuscript on vellum
Summary: This immense, richly illuminated manuscript was created over 500 years ago in a Benedictine monastery in Lombardy, Italy. The pages are not paper: in stead, they are made from vellum, animal skin that is soaked, scraped, and stretched. Skins from an entire herd of animals were required to create this thick volume, and many scribes, artists and illuminators contributed countless hours to its decoration. The book is so massive because it was intended to be placed on a tall lectern and read from a distance by choirs.
The monastic binding dates from the 16th or 17th century; the front and back cover, which remind many onlookers of a magical volume from Harry Potter, are heavy wooden boards armored with metal bosses to protect the exterior from wear and damage. Ascribed to the monastery of Monte Casino, the individual portraits of monks are believed to have been modeled on members from their order. The Boston Public Library is home to several hundred medieval manuscripts.
Location: Boston Public Library, Rare Books & Manuscripts Department
Rights: No known restrictions.