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Leaf from the Morgan Picture Bible
Northern France, France (Place Created)
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink
Ms. Ludwig I 6 (83.MA.55)
Leaf: 32.5 × 29.1 cm (12 13/16 × 11 7/16 in.)
The Morgan Picture Bible stood over a foot tall and contained more than 380 scenes from the Old Testament, extending from the story of Creation to the reign of King David. Though it originally consisted exclusively of pictures with no accompanying text, three sets of captions were later added to the leaves, summarizing the contents of the images. Scribes in southern Italy added inscriptions in Latin around 1300, and inscriptions in Persian and Judeo-Persian--Persian written in the Hebrew alphabet--were added in the 1600s.
Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski, Bishop of Cracow, Poland, presented the Morgan Picture Bible to the Persian ruler of the early 1600s, Shah Abbas, centuries after it was made. The Pierpont Morgan Library in New York now owns the book, which is missing a number of folios including the Getty Museum's leaf. Who removed leaves from the book and for what reason? The answer may lie with the Shah. All of the missing leaves come from the part of the book that tells the story of Absalom's defiance of his father, King David. Scholars have suggested that Shah Abbas did not approve of that story and may have had the leaves cut out. Because these leaves were removed during the time of Shah Abbas, the later Judeo-Persian inscriptions are not found on them.
by 1604 - 1608
Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski, Polish, 1548 - 1608, presented as a gift to Shah Abbas, King of Persia, 1608.
Shah Abbās I, Persian, 1571 - 1629
Source: Cockerell, A Book of Old Testament Illustrations, Cambridge, For the Roxburge Club, 1927, p. 58.
Note: It is believed that by Shah Abbas order three leaves were removed from the volume (leaves 43-44, now in the Bibl.Nat., and 45, the present leaf).
Durlacher Brothers, sold to Sydney C. Cockerell, 1910.
Source: Euw, Anton von, and Joachim M. Plotzek. Die Handschriften der Sammlung Ludwig. 4 vols. (Cologne: Schnütgen-Museum, 1979-1985), vol. 1 (1979), p. 72.
1910 - 1956
Sydney C. Cockerell, English, 1867 - 1962, sold to H.. Kraus, 1956.
Source: Munby, A.N.L. The Dispersal of the Phillipps Library: Phillipps Studies 5 (Cambridge: University Press, 1960), p. 69.
Hans P. Kraus, Sr., American, born Austria, 1907 - 1988
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A Thousand Years of the Bible: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (January 15 to March 31, 1991) (recto)
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Book Arts of Isfahan: Diversity and Identity in 17th Century Persia (October 24, 1995 to January 14, 1996) (both)
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