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Decoration

The opening words of each Gospel, the Incipits, are in highly-decorated scripts.

The story of Christ's birth in each Gospel is also introduced by a great Chi-rho page - the first letters of 'Christos' in Greek, a Christian symbol.

These painted labyrinths are masterpieces of sacred calligraphy: an artform portraying and celebrating the Divine without using human figures or forms.

The distinctive display script takes elements from many different cultures. There are Roman capitals, Greek characters and angular letters recalling Germanic runes. Large decorated initials mark important passages in the text. They are filled with interlaced birds and beasts - creation of the word of God - and with a maze-like vortex of Celtic spiral-work recalling water, air and fire.

 

The Chi-rho page of the Lindisfarne Gospels
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Mark incipit page, the Lindisfarne Gospels
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John incipit page, the Lindisfarne Gospels
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