Fol. 1v

The Fifth Day; The Sixth Day; The Creation of Woman; The Tree of Knowledge; The Fall from Grace

Old Testament miniatures with Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian inscriptions

France, Paris
1240s
390 x 300 mm

Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1916

MS M.638 (fol. 1v)
Item description: 

The Crusader Bible, also known as the Morgan Picture Bible, the Maciejowski Bible, and the Shah ‘Abbas Bible, is not only one of greatest medieval manuscripts in the Morgan, it also ranks as one of the incomparable achievements of French Gothic illumination.

The miniatures represent one of the greatest visualizations of Old Testament events ever made. Some of the stories and their heroes are well known, but there are also accounts of other Israelites who fought for the Promised Land—stories that resonate to this day. There are incredibly violent battle scenes where the implements of war are so accurately depicted they could be replicated. And there are scenes not only of murder, everyday life, and love, but also of hate, envy, adultery, and rape—all set in the scenery and customs of thirteenth-century France.

Page description: 

The Fifth Day
On the fifth day, the Lord brings forth all of the creatures of the skies and seas. For the first time, birds take wing in the open firmament of the heavens, the waters teem with fish, and great whales roam the oceans. "Increase and multiply," the Lord commands, "fill the waters of the sea, and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth." (Genesis 1:20–23)

The Sixth Day
On the sixth day, the Lord forms man in his own image. As a sign of their special relationship, He grasps Adam's arm and, before the assembled creatures of the earth, charges him with dominion over the world and all of its inhabitants. (Genesis 1:24–31)

The Creation of Woman; The Tree of Knowledge
Soon after, the Lord puts Adam in Paradise and draws forth Eve from Adam's side. The pair are enjoined never to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. (Genesis 2:15–18, 21–23)

The Fall from Grace
A subtle, winged serpent with a woman's head convinces Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Adam accepts the forbidden fruit from his companion. (Genesis 3:1–6)

Translation: 

Folio 1v (Latin)

Upper left: On the fifth day God created reptiles and fish and all creatures that live in the water and winged fowl and birds over the earth. (Genesis 1: 20–23)

Upper right: On the sixth day God created the reptiles of the earth, cattle and beasts, and finally man, destined to have dominion over all the living beings of the sea, the heaven and the earth. These were the works of the six days. On the seventh God rested from all the work which he had created. (Genesis 1:24 – 2:3)

Lower left: Here is how God placed Adam, the first man, in the garden of Eden and, in order that he might not be alone, formed a woman for him from one of his ribs as he was sleeping, commanding him to eat freely of every tree in the garden of Eden excluding the tree of knowledge of good or bad, for on the day in which he ate thereof he would surely die. (Genesis 2:8–25)

Lower right: Here is how the woman, deceived by the serpent’s fraud, ate of the forbidden tree, against the Lord’s command, and gave also to her man. When he had similarly eaten the eyes of them both were opened. (Genesis 3: 1–7)

Folio 1v (Persian)

Persian foliation: 43

Upper left: On the fifth day the birds and the fish were created.

Upper right margin: On the sixth day animals were created and after that Adam appeared.

Lower left margin: This is the image of Paradise wherein Adam rested [and Eve emerged from [his] left side; and His Excellence the Almighty commanded [them] to eat from the fruits of Heaven except from the specific tree which He forbade.

Lower right: At Eve’s behest, Adam’s eating [from] the forbidden tree and the symbol of rebellion of the pure Adam.

Folio 1v (Judeo-Persian)

Upper left margin: This is the scene of the fifth day, when birds and fish were created.

Upper right margin, furthest to right: On the sixth day animals were created; afterwards His Excellence Adam appeared.

Lower left margin, furthest to left: This is an image of the Garden [of Eden], when Eve was taken out from Adam’s left side. They were [not] prevented from eating from every tree, except from the Tree of Knowledge.

Lower right margin, below Latin: Adam’s eating [from] the tree.

Credits: 

Content consultant: Richard Leson

Persian translated by Sussan Babaie

Judeo-Persian translated by Vera Basch Moreen

Latin translation by Eran Lupu

After the commentary volume accompanying the Fine Art Facsimile edition by Faksimile Verlag Luzern / www.faksimile.ch