Old Testament miniatures

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Accession number: 
MS M.638
Old Testament miniatures
Paris, France, ca. 1244-1254.
Rebound several times since the 13th century; in 1916 (when it entered the Morgan collection) it was in brown sheepskin, no later than mid-18th century; rebound by Marguerite Duprez Lahey in old blue cape levant; currently disbound.
Purchased by J.P. Morgan (1867-1943) in 1916.
Curatorial Comments: 

The Crusader Bible, also known as the Morgan Picture Bible, the Maciejowski Bible, and the Shah 'Abbas Bible, is not only one of the 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 less familiar Israelites who fought for the Promised Land--tales that resonate to this day. There are incredibly violent battle scenes in which the implements of war are so accurately depicted they could be replicated. And there are scenes of everyday life, love, hate, and envy, as well as adultery, rape, and murder--all set in thirteenth-century France.

43 leaves : vellum, illuminated, disbound ; 390 x 300 mm
Latin descriptions and painted initials executed in Italy, ca. 1300; owned by Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski of Cracow in the early 17th century; sent by Cardinal Maciejowski as a gift to Shah Abbas, King of Persia; presented to Shah Abbas 3 January 1608; purchased in Egypt by Giovanni d'Athanasi; his sale (London, Sotheby's, 16 March 1833, lot 201) to Payne and Foss; Sir Thomas Phillipps (Phillipps Collection, no. 8025); purchased by J.P. Morgan (1867-1943) in 1916.

Ms. picture book Bible; illuminated in Paris, France?, ca. 1244-1254.
Ms. also known as Crusader Bible, Morgan Crusader Bible, Book of Kings, Kreuzritter Bible, St. Louis Bible, Shah Abbas Bible, and Maciejowski Bible.
Execution of the miniatures has been attributed to 1) France, probably Paris (H. Stahl; D. Weiss, The Book of Kings); 2) northwestern France (A. Stones); 3) England (R. Branner); 4) Flanders or Hainaut (A. Stones), ca. 1244-1254.
There are three other extant folios originally from this manuscript: two in Paris (BnF, Ms n.a.l. 2294 fols 2, 3) and one in Los Angeles (J. Paul Getty Museum Ludwig I 6 - 83.MA.55).
Folios 43r and 43v are sometimes referred to as folios 46r and 46v, respectively. This alternate foliation was assigned to this folio in the Cockerell facsimiles of this manuscript (1927, 1969) as well as Weiss (1998). The facsimiles reconstructed a codex from all extant leaves, combining the Morgan Library's MS M.638 with the three leaves that were previously removed from the codex (see note above). The facsimiles then refoliated this reconstructed codex, which resulted in M.638 folios 43r and 43v being given the folio numbers 46r and 46v. For further information, see Voelkle's Codicological Analysis, as well as the appendix to the Codicological Analysis in Weiss' The Morgan Crusader Bible : The Picture Bible of Saint Louis (1998). The Morgan Library refers to the last folio in M.638 as folios 43r and 43v, not 46r and 46v.
Decoration: 43 leaves illustrated on recto and verso with full-page miniatures in double register compositions subdivided into two halves by a central colonette, representing more than 300 separate episodes.
Quire 1: bifolio fol. 1 and 6, bifolio fol. 2 and 5, bifolio fol. 3 and 4; quire 2: single leaf fol. 7 (with hook around spine), bifolio fol. 8 ans 11, bifolio fol. 9 and 10; quire 3: bifolio fol. 12 and 17, bifolio fol. 13 and 16, bifolio fol. 14 and 15; quire 4: bifolio fol. 18 and 23, bifolio fol. 19 and 22, bifolio fol. 20 and 21; quire 5: bifolio fol. 24 and 29, bifolio fol. 25 and 28, bifolio fol. 26 and 27; quire 6: bifolio fol. 30 and 35, bifolio fol. 31 and 34, bifolio fol. 32 and 33; quire 7: bifolio fol. 36 and 41, bifolio fol. 37 and 40, bifolio fol. 38 and 39; quire 8: bifolio fol. 42 and 43.
Revised: 2015

Variant Title: 

Crusader Bible
Morgan Crusader Bible
St. Louis Bible

textura, Persian, Judeo-Persian scripts
Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian