Touching the book again : the Passional of Abbess Kunigunde of Bohemia
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Late medieval readers sometimes interacted with manuscripts in highly physical ways, by rubbing and touching their books. Physical evidence from the books themselves—with signs of repeated abrasion—indicate that such touching must have taken place ritualistically. Formative examples of such rituals were the priest kissing the sacramentary or missal during Mass, and people touching a gospel book in order to make an oath. In the later middle ages, these rituals were expanded and adapted to include other situations and book types but preserved two ideas: that the book was the locus of authority (definitional within an Abrahamic religion of the book), and that figures represented within books could provide a direct conduit to the people they represented. This article considers the Passional of Abbess Kunigunde of Bohemia (National Library of Prague / Národní knihovna České republiky, Praha, Ms.XIV.A.17), a manuscript dating from 1312-14. Users have intentionally damaged several of the images in the book, but seemingly for different reasons. In this brief article I analyse these marks of wear and speculate on how they were formed and why.
Rudy , K M 2018 , Touching the book again : the Passional of Abbess Kunigunde of Bohemia . in P Carmassi & G Toussaint (eds) , Codex und Material . Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien , vol. 34 , Harrassowitz Verlag , Wiesbaden , pp. 247-257 , Codex und Material – Jenseits von Text und Bild? , Wolfenbüttel , Germany , 7/10/15 .conference
Codex und Material
© Herzog August Bibliothek 2018. This work has been made available online with permission. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at https://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/Codex_und_Material/title_5720.ahtml
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