Item No: mca2110011
Additional Title: Noels (Christmas carols)
Rare Book Department
Adoration of the Christ Child with the Shepherds
This manuscript can be dated to ca. 1520, with sixteenth-century additions.
This miniature is the frontispiece of a collection of "Noels" or French Christmas carols. The text inscribed within the frame around the miniature is from the hymn "Regina Coeli" (Queen of Heaven): "Regina, caeli, letare, alleluia. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia, resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia. Amen. Amen" (O Queen of Heaven rejoice! alleluia. For he whom thou didst merit to bear, alleluia, hath arisen as he said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia). Although the hymn was traditionally sung during the Easter season, here it extols the Virgin's role in the Incarnation of Christ. Of special note are the shepherds who also appear in subsequent illustrations. The pastoral themes that appear in the illustrations reflect the rustic associations that this form of popular song carried, due in part to the fact that according to the Bible, it had been the lowly shepherds had been the first to hear of Christ's birth.
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Lewis E 211