Nov 3, 2016
Nov 3, 2016
Nov 3, 2016

Bifolium from a Bible: Initial E[t factum est] with Ezekiel

Bifolium from a Bible: Initial E[t factum est] with Ezekiel

c. 1290

Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum

Sheet: 40.3 x 53.7 cm (15 7/8 x 21 1/8 in.)

The Harold T. Clark Educational Extension Fund 1959.272


Did you know?

This bifolium was likely once part of a Carthusian Bible; the initials in the margin are part of a unique reading system used by Carthusian monks.


This large initial E on the left page introduces the Book of Ezekiel. The prophet is represented in the midst of his apocalyptic visions. Ezekiel's call to prophecy began as a vision showing God enthroned among four creatures, each with four wings and the face of a man, lion, ox, and eagle, respectively. These apocalyptic beasts recur in the Book of Revelation and were developed by the medieval Church into symbols of the Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Since medieval manuscripts were not paginated, this large initial provided a clear visual cue for the reader to help locate the text of Ezekiel within the manuscript.

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