Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Geese Book – medieval manuscript now available online

One of the most interesting manuscripts of the late Middle Ages is now available online – The Geese Book, a lavishly and whimsically illuminated, two-volume liturgical book, can now be accessed through a project from the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

The Geese Book was produced in Nuremberg, Germany between 1503 and 1510, and gives the complete liturgy compiled for the parish of St. Lorenz, which was used until the Reformation was introduced in the city in 1525.

The volumes are renowned for their high quality decorative illumination including fanciful pictures, provocative and satirical imagery of animals, dragons, and wild people. The work takes its name from an enigmatic illustration showing a choir of geese singing from a large chant manuscript with a wolf as their choirmaster. A fox, who has joined the choir, extends his paw menacingly in the direction of one of the geese.

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