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Interlace Zoomorphic Initial, In 'The Gospels Of Mael Brigte'

Interlace Zoomorphic Initial, In 'The Gospels Of Mael Brigte'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1138

Shelfmark: Harley MS 1802

Item number: f.10r

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Although the main text is in Latin, there are a series of added notes in Irish at the end of each Gospel which provide the scribe's name: Mael Brigte Ua Mael Uanaig; his age: 28; the fact that he was writing in Armagh; and the date of completion: 1138. In the 13th century further academic notes were added, which suggest that the book was used for study in the new university of Paris. This large initial marks the start of the first gospel, Matthew, beginning with an abbreviated form of Christ's name: 'Xpi'. Two animal heads are clearly visible, and is one traces their bodies back from the head, one sees that they each divide into a tail and a leg with a paw and claw.

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