Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Europe’s Oldest Intact Book

From My Modern Met:
Sometime after 698 CE, a small red book made its way into St. Cuthbert’s tomb along with other offerings. The book, a rare surviving medieval manuscript, was removed from his coffin in 1104 CE and transferred to Durham Cathedral, where it was kept as a separate relic. In 2012, The British Library acquired the 1,300-year-old text, which still retained its original binding and pages. The book’s binding is covered in a deep crimson stained goatskin, which was stuck to boards while still damp. “The decoration of the boards was enriched by tooling and coloring lines on the surface, with the tip of a fine folder or a stylus,” describes The British Library, which has also digitized the book. “The left board is decorated with a rectangular frame with interlace patterns in the upper and lower fields and a larger central field containing a chalice from which stems project, terminating in a leaf or bud and four fruits. This raised motif was apparently made using a matrix, with a clay-like substance beneath the leather.” (Read more.)

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