Table of Consanguinity

Object Details

Title:

Table of Consanguinity

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Paris France Sens (or) France (Place created)

Date:

about 1170 - 1180

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 44.3 x 29.1 cm (17 7/16 x 11 7/16 in.)

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In the section of the Decretals on matrimony, an illuminator provided two full-page diagrams across a double-page spread to explain visually the laws of consanguinity and affinity. These laws were important for determining lines of inheritance and the legality of marriages. The first of these diagrams, the Table of Consanguinity, displays the degrees of relationship between a person and his or her blood relatives in order to make clear the prohibitions on marriage within one's own family. The bust-length figure enclosed in the small central medallion indicates the place of hypothetical viewers, allowing them to orient themselves with respect to all other family members.

The large haloed figure of Adam/Christ, who represents both the first generation of humankind and the creating spirit of God, holds the diagram. The symmetrical, frontal pose gives this figure monumentality, which is reinforced by his elegant tunic and mantle and the liberal use of gold.

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