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Psalm 45 (46), in a Psalter

Psalm 45 (46), in a Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1190

Shelfmark: Additional MS 36929

Item number: f.50r

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. Psalm 45 (46) is entitled in colourful letters 'Voice of the apostles.' The seeming inaccuracy (the Psalms were written centuries before the apostles) results from a Christian tradition of interpreting the Psalms allegorically as prophecies of Christ, the Church and the saints. The brightly coloured initials with their animal ornament help organise the text, indicating a hierarchy of verses, stanzas, and beginning of the Psalm.

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