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Lindau Gospels lower cover image

Gilt silver, enamel, and jeweled bookcover
[Probably Salzburg, ca. 760–90]
Earlier binding used as lower cover on Lindau Gospels, Abbey of St. Gall, Switzerland, late ninth century
350 x 275 mm
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1901; MS M. 1
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

This is the oldest jeweled binding in the Morgan. Although the precise date and origin of the cover remain mysterious, it has been suggested that it was made around Salzburg during the time of Bishop Virgilius (d. 784). The main decorative motif is a cross, the arms of which broaden at their ends. In the central square are a topaz and four abbreviations: IHS XPS DNS NOS (Iesus Christus Dominus Noster—Jesus Christ Our Lord). Four champlevé busts of Christ framed by garnets extend from the square. Between the arms of the cross are four silver gilt panels with animal interlace. The four medallions with the Evangelists were added in 1594.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.