Gilt silver, enamel, and jeweled bookcover
[Probably Salzburg, ca. 760–90]
Earlier binding used as lower cover on Lindau Gospels, Abbey of St. Gall, Switzerland
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1901
This is the oldest jeweled binding in the Morgan. Although the precise date and origin of the cover remain mysterious, it has been suggested that it was made around Salzburg during the time of Bishop Virgilius (d. 784). The main decorative motif is a cross, the arms of which broaden at their ends. In the central square are a topaz and four abbreviations: IHS XPS DNS NOS (Iesus Christus Dominus Noster—Jesus Christ Our Lord). Four champlevé busts of Christ framed by garnets extend from the square. Between the arms of the cross are four silver gilt panels with animal interlace. The four medallions with the Evangelists were added in 1594.