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CHRIST IN JUDGEMENT, historiated initial D, cut from a Psalter, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
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CHRIST IN JUDGEMENT, historiated initial D, cut from a Psalter, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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CHRIST IN JUDGEMENT, historiated initial D, cut from a Psalter, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

[Germany, 1st half 13th century]
147 x 98mm. The initial staves are made up of the scaly body of a blue dragon with red legs and a white head, within the bow the risen Christ sits on a cushioned bench displaying his wounds, two swords spread from his mouth, at the sides angels with instruments of the Passion, and below the heads of the resurrected dead are visible over the brims of four coloured vessels, all set against a ground of burnished gold; on the verso, twelve lines of text in black ink with four large painted initials of red or blue, red strokes as word dividers (losses to the silver of the swords and two small losses from the golden ground, remains of pasted paper mount at edges of the reverse, cropped). Framed.

This initial opened Psalm 101, Domine exaudi orationem meam, which continues on to the verso from ad me aurem tuam.....nicticorax in domicilio. Only five or six letters are missing from each line showing that only a couple of centimetres have been lost from the sides of the text space and that originally this initial was above just four lines of text. It would have been an extremely imposing book. Psalm 101 is one point of division in the three-part division common in early German Psalters.

The restricted palette and the fact that the text is written above top-line point to a date early in the 13th century.
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