File name: 09_03_000060
Title: Psalterium cum Antiphonis [Folio 1, recto]
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.