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Mappae Clavicula

Date : 2011-01-13 11:03:21

DescriptionManuscrit latin du XIIème siècle / 12th-century Latin manuscript. *** Fr: Manuscrit latin du XIIème siècle qui présente plus de 200 recettes pour la fabrication de diverses substances utilisées dans les arts décoratifs. Voir aussi: - Mappae Clavicula, Wikipédia: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mappae_Clavicula - Les traités médiévaux de peinture sur verre, Karine Boulanger, in Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes, tome 162 (p.9-35): http://books.google.fr/books?id=RI-8Smf_br0C&lpg=PA12&ots=Ukn9HpAD4N&dq=Mappae%20Clavicula&pg=PP2#v=onepage&q=Mappae%20Clavicula&f=false *** En: The Mappae Clavicula is a 12th-century Latin manuscript that presents more than 200 recipes for making various substances used in the decorative arts. In these formulas, ingredients found in the natural world are precisely combined to produce various colors and metallic elements such as gold, silver, and copper for painting, writing, and ornamentation. This union of aesthetics and artisanship offers a panoramic view of the inventive spirit that infused the stunning artistry of the Middle Ages. Although the Mappae Clavicula was studied by medieval historians, our understanding of the text and its background was considerably enhanced by the scholarship of Cyril Stanley Smith and John G. Hawthorne, whose translation and commentaries were published in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society in 1974. Translating a medieval manuscript can be much like solving a puzzle. The title of the Mappae Clavicula was a basic piece of the puzzle for Smith and Hawthorne, who settled on A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques as the most meaningful interpretation. In their introduction, they described the Mappae Clavicula as a “compilation of compilations,” and they stated that the specific manuscript owned by the Rakow Library “stands at the very apex of the traditional compilation of recipes of chemical technology….” Some of these many recipes involve glass. For example, recipe number 69 in the Smith and Hawthorne translation is for “Giving to Glass the Nature of a Stronger Metal” and uses a mixture of egg whites and mistletoe juice to accomplish this. Other recipes for various colored glasses call for “cooking” the glass mixture from two to six days. The Mappae Clavicula is valuable not only for its historical content, but also as an artifact of medieval material culture. The manuscript was probably copied from more than one original source, possibly by more than one scribe, in the cloistered setting of the monastic scriptorium. Since copying by hand was the only way in which a book could be reproduced before the introduction of printing, each manuscript was a unique object. In various sections of the Mappae Clavicula, the size of the writing and the style of the Gothic lettering are different, allowing for speculation that two scribes may have collaborated in its production. In the absence of illustrations, chapter headings and initials in red and green provide relief from the monotony of the sepia ink and help to organize content. For the scribe, the tedium of copying was relaxed by the small measure of artistic freedom he could exercise in designing the initials. Thus some of these letters seem to have sprouted tails (and at times another design within the tail), while others imitate architectural elements such as fluted columns and delicate crowns. This interplay of curvilinear and elongated strokes appeared to be a favorite expression of the scribe’s own fancy which, at the same time, was clearly meant to delight the reader. See also: Dye Recipes from the Mappae Clavicula: http://www.elizabethancostume.net/dyes/mappae.html

http://www.cmog.org/dynamic.aspx?id=11381

Name of InstitutionMappae Clavicula

Author(s) NameKristen Patin

Added/Updated byKristen Patin



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