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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, late ninth century
350 x 275 mm
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1901; MS M. 1
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »
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.
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