Item No: mcai160101
Additional Title: Undetermined
Transitional script (praegothica)
Rare Book Department
This cutting has been dated to ca. 1130.
This initial is a fine example of Romanesque initial decoration. The intricate interlaced pattern of the white vine-scroll harbors a male figure in the lower compartment climbing up the tendrils of the stylized vines toward a lion in the upper compartment grazing, as it were, on the stylized foliage. The head of a beast at the top of the letter threatens to swallow the whole composition. Such play within the decorative spaces of a manuscript and the blending of abstract design and natural forms are holdovers from pre-Christian ornamental traditions, such as those practiced by the Celts.
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Lewis E M 16:10