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Psalm 101, in a Psalter

Psalm 101, in a Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 910

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vitellius F XI

Item number: f.38r

Length: 22.2

Width: 16

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Severely damaged in a fire in 1731, this psalter was part of the collection of Robert Cotton which eventually became part of the British Library. It was made in Ireland, although where is not known for certain. An inscription, now lost, was supposed to have connected it to a person called Muiredach. The most well-known Muiredach was abbot of Monasterboice in the early 10th century, and usually the psalter's origin is placed there for that reason. Also, some of the decoration in it resembles carvings on the stone Cross of Muiredach at Monasterboice. Psalters are divided into sections according to different traditions. This Psalter is divided into three sections, according to the Irish tradition. The third division at Psalm 101 is marked in this psalter with a large first letter in the form of a tumbling animal and whip-like interlace. The elongated forms are characteristic of late 9th and early 10th century Irish manuscript art. The page has a border with interlace panels and other patterns. The snarling animal-head upper terminal of the border is very reminiscent of frame in the Book of Kells.

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