Table of Affinity

Object Details

Title:

Table of Affinity

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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The Table of Affinity serves as a pendant to the Table of Consanguinity in the section on matrimony in Gratian's Decretals. This table shows the relationships that a husband and wife bear to each other's families. The top section of the diagram containing the husband and wife, here appropriately labeled Adam and Eve, is identified as Primu[m] G[e]n[u]s (First degree [of affinity]). These two figures braid together the tails of four fantastic beasts that sprout vine leaves. The animals' biting heads hold up the middle portion of the diagram, which includes members of the second degree of affinity. Finally, a seated figure with a blue halo grasps vines to which are attached members of the third degree of affinity. The two sides of the diagram are separated by a treelike form in the center, an appropriate image to visualize the idea of mingling blood lines and family growth. The Table of Consanguinity and Table of Affinity were essential to Church law because they helped to determine issues of inheritance and the legality of marriages. The pair of tables became standard in copies of the Decretals by the end of the 1100s.

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