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Inhabited Illuminated Initial, In A Psalter

Inhabited Illuminated Initial, In A Psalter

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1225

Shelfmark: Harley MS 5102

Item number: f.6r

Length: 31.3

Width: 21.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Five full-page miniatures have been inserted as single leaves into this 13th-century Psalter, but they are in a different, older style, and are probably re-used from a 12th-century manuscript. There is no trace of a calendar or litany, and lacking any liturgical evidence, the manuscript has been tentatively attributed to the East Midlands. Psalm 8 is decorated by an illuminated initial 'D' containing a hybrid creature, with human head, bird tail, and horse(?) legs, with a shield on its back. It is difficult to find any connection between such imagery and the text, and one must often assume that such representations were intended to have a purely entertaining/decorative purpose.

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