March 16, 2009
Leaf from an Antiphonary:
Initial N with the Nativity of the Virgin, September 8
Flanders, ca. 1325
Script: Gothic bookhand
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold
This initial begins the first response of the first nocturn of Matins for the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin (Sept. 8), “Nativitas tua dei genitrix virgo gaudium annunciauit universo mundo …” (Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, heralded joy to all the world).
There is stitching in several places on this leaf: sewing was a common way to repair parchment in the Middle Ages and beyond, as parchment is animal skin.
The bas-de-page depicts a dog chasing a rabbit: bottom border illustrations such as these were common in the first half of the fourteenth century, particularly in Flanders. This leaf has Hufnagel musical notation: Hufnagel is a German term resulting from a comparison between the appearance of the notation’s virga (single note of relatively higher pitch) to a horseshoe-nail. This leaf is also a fine example of the use of the F line and the C line: the F is marked and colored red; the C is marked and colored yellow.
Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 42:17