|Episode 2 Season 2: Illuminated Manuscripts|
|Resources - Podcasts|
|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 15 September 2011 00:00|
Copy machines make exact copies of documents. Just slide your original in the machine, tell it how many copies you want and in a few minutes you have your copies.
But in medieval Europe about 1000 years ago, each time someone needed a new copy of a book, it had to be copied page by page by a team of artists and scribes.
In the middles ages, most of the people who could read and write were monks who had dedicated their life to the church. The monks lived in monasteries and were supposed to read the Bible and pray. Monks also had many jobs to keep the monastery going and one of them was to help make the books needed to study the Bible and to help them pray.
Each book was copied by hand in a part of the monastery called the Scriptorium. There were rows of desks where monks copied page after page of Bibles, prayer books, and books about science and history.
This is a picture from a page of a Bible. The halos on the saints are made with very thin sheets of gold. This is a book on natural history. It is called a bestiary and contains illustrations of animals. Some of the animals are real and some are only imagined to be real. Some animals haven’t been studied very carefully and look pretty different than the real one.
The words were written with a quill pen. A quill pen is made from the tip of a goose feather that was stripped of its plumage and was sharpened to a point. A small slit was cut into the tip of the quill pen. When the quill pen was dipped in a bottle of ink, the ink was sucked into the hollow part of the feather. The quill pen makes a thick line if you draw downwards and a thin line you go across. If you move the quill from bottom to top, you splatter ink everywhere! If a monk made a mistake, the writing could be scraped away and redone.
Next, some letters where painted red by a rubricator, who got his name from the ruby red ink he used. The pages were also decorated with hand painted borders and pictures. Finally, thin sheets of gold were applied to the page. When everything was done, people said the pages shone so bright, that they called them illuminated manuscripts.
To get a slight idea of what it was like to bind a book by hand, you can make a simple sketchbook using a pamphlet stitch. Begin with two sheets of paper and fold them into quarters. Now open the pages up to reveal the spine of the book. Place a self-healing mat or hand towel underneath the book pages and poke three holes along the spine of the book. Take some embroidery floss and thread an arm span’s length into a needle. Poke the needle through the middle hole from the outside in. Pull the floss through the middle hole leaving a about a 3 inch tail. Poke the needle through the bottom hole and pull the floss from the inside out. Poke the needle through the top hole and pull the floss from outside in. Pull the floss back through the middle hole from the inside out. Cut the needle off of the floss, tie the two ends together and close the book. Now take a pair of scissors and trim the pages along the top to release the pages. And now you have a simple bound book.
Kocielniak, B. (2003). Johann Gutenberg and the amazing printing press. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company
Olmert, M. (2003). The Smithsonian Book of Books. New York: Smithsonian.
Tillotson, D. (n.d.). The Quill pen. http://medievalwriting.50megs.com/tools/quill.htm
This work was compiled from the following sources (in order of appearance):
CC-BY SA 3.0
CC-BY SA 3.0
CC-BY ND 2.0
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Benedictine missionaries by Lawrence OP
CC BY-NC 2.0
CC BY 2.0
Manuscript by Muffet
CC BY 2.0
|Last Updated on Sunday, 18 September 2011 07:42|