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Carpet Pages

The decorated pages at the beginning of each Gospel are known as Carpet Pages because they look like oriental rugs. This may have been intentional. St Bede writes that prayer mats were known in Northumbria at this time, as well as in eastern Christian and Islamic lands.They are also found in early Coptic (Christian Egyptian) manuscripts. Prayer mats help prepare worshippers for prayer. They also help prepare them before they move onto holy gropund. In the Lindisfarne Gospels the carpet pages play a similar role, preparing the reader for the the Gospel message.

Each carpet page contains a different form of cross, stressing the different church traditions and their ecumenical relationship. They also recall contemporary metalwork, symbolising the Crux Gemmata, the jewelled cross which represented the Christ of the Second Coming.

 

Matthew cross-carpet page
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Mark cross-carpet page
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John cross-carpet page
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Luke cross-carpet page
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