LECTIONARY, in Syriac, illuminated manuscript on vellum [near East, c.1200]

An imposing leaf from a giant deluxe late 12th / early 13th-century illustrated Syriac Lectionary.

A single leaf, 432 x 325mm, blind-ruled for two columns of 24 lines written in brown ink in a Syriac Estrangelo book script, ruled space 285 x 100mm, 4 lines in gold, 15th-century panels with interlace ornament, incorporating the gathering signature at the foot of the leaf (marginal damp-staining and cockling, affecting the top and bottom left-hand corner of text on verso, diagonal creases across text and interlace panels). Bound in grey buckram at the Quaritch bindery.

(1) Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962): the present fragment described along with 5 other miniature leaves from the same parent codex in J. Leroy, Les Manuscrits syriaques à peintures conservés dans les bibliothèques d’Europe et d’Orient, Paris, 1964, pp.411-13. Kevorkian was an Armenian-American archeologist, connoisseur of art, and collector, originally from Kayseri, who graduated from the American Robert College in Istanbul and settled in New York City in the late 19th century.

(2) Sam Fogg Ltd, 1989. Three of the miniature leaves from the Kevorkian collection appeared in Medieval Manuscripts, cat. 12 (1989), no 1. The present leaf sold to:

(3) Schøyen Collection, MS 267.

Text and script:
The text is from Luke 2:9-20, a reading concerning the Nativity. The script indicates an approximate date of the late 12th century or early 13th century. Illustrated Syriac material is of the greatest rarity.

Early Christian and Byzantine Art, An Exhibition held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 1947, no 52.
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