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Psalm 30 (31), in a Psalter

Psalm 30 (31), in a Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1190

Shelfmark: Additional MS 36929

Item number: f.29v

Length: 17.7-00-00 00:00:00

Width: 12.5-00-00 00:00:00

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This psalter was made in Ireland (Armagh?), probably in the late 12th century to judge from the style of the script. The scribe signed his name on one of its pages: 'Cormacus wrote this psalter: pray for him'. Its decoration shares some features of manuscripts from Armagh, but it combines stylistic elements seen in 8th- and 9th-century illumination (in masterpieces such as the Book of Kells) with current styles. Containing canticles or verse passages from the Bible, such as Deut. 32:1-43, as well as the Book of Psalms, it was used as a prayerbook or hymnal in church services. The large decorated letters mark the beginning of Psalm 30 (31), 'In te domine speravi' ('In you Lord I have hoped'). The Psalm is identified by the title above in red as 'The voice of Christ on the cross.' The titles given in this psalter are allegorical, casting the psalms as prophecy of Christianity in addition to being Hebrew songs of prayer. Animal heads with enormous bright yellow or red tongues and their even larger feet grow from the ends of the strokes making up the letters to enliven the page. Short lines are filled out with simple series of spirals, and at the bottom of the page a red 'runover' mark draws attention to the last letters of a line that were written below it.

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