The Structure of a Medieval Manuscript

For more than a thousand years all manuscripts were written and illustrated by hand. By the Middle Ages, books were being made by folding sheets of parchment, arranging them into gatherings, and assembling and binding them together. This animation illustrates how medieval books were constructed--a feat of engineering that remains essentially the same today.

Animation images based on The Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection

© 2009 J. Paul Getty Trust