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Ink, tempera and gold on vellum
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2006.12.a
The word dirge, today meaning a mournful hymn for funerals, comes from the opening Latin in the Office of the Dead, seen just after the decorative letter A at upper left. During the Middle Ages, dirge became the shortened way to refer to the Office of the Dead. Although primarily recited at funerals, the office was also prayed at home as a reminder of mortality and a protection against sudden death. Surrounding the text, which contains Psalm 5, is a border decoration of acanthus leaves, believed to grow in paradise, as well as a parrot, a squirrel, a beetle, and flowers.
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