The Ottobeuren Gradual
GRADUAL, SEQUENTIARY, AND SACRAMENTARY, in Latin. Germany, Ottobeuren Abbey, ca. 1164. Written and illuminated for Abbot Isingrim.
Unlike the later Missal, which contains all of the texts needed for the celebration of the Mass, the Sacramentary usually excluded the lessons and musical texts, which were kept in separate books. This manuscript represents an intermediate stage in the development of the full Missal, because it includes both a Gradual and Sequentiary, which, while not integrated, precede the Sacramentary proper. Because the Sacramentary played a fundamental role in the Mass, it could be sumptuously decorated, especially if it was made for the abbot of a monastery.
In luxury books, the pages containing the Canon, the very heart of the Mass, were usually the most elaborately illustrated and written. Here, a full-page Crucifixion introduces the Canon, which begins with a large green T (of Te igitur), which, like the living green cross of the Crucifixion, is also set against a gold background.