AHRS 331 Technical Terms

  1. Antiphonal
    also called antiphoner or antiphonary, contains the sung portions of the DIVINE OFFICE
  2. Bas-de-page
    Bas-de-page (literally, 'bottom of the page') scenes are usually unframed images that may or may not refer to the text or image above. They are found in GOTHIC illumination from the thirteenth century on.
  3. Bible
    A number of Latin versions of books of the Bible, translated from Greek and Hebrew, were used in the EARLY CHRISTIAN Church; these are known as Old Latin versions. To establish a measure of uniformity among these various translations, Saint Jerome, encouraged by Pope Damasus I, undertook a new translation of the whole Bible, working from the Greek and the Hebrew for the Old Testament. The translation he produced, begun about 382 and completed in 404 is known as the Vulgate.
  4. Bible Moralisée
    The most important type of medieval picture BIBLE, also known as the Bible historiée, Bibleallégorisée, or Emblèmes bibliques. Composed during the thirteenth century, it consists of short biblical passages and related COMMENTARIES with moral or allegorical lessons.
  5. Biblia Pauperum
    Literally, the 'BIBLE of the Poor', it consisted of a series of captioned MINIATURES illustrating the parallels between the Old and New Testaments
  6. Binding Medium
    An ingredient in paint or INK that binds the PIGMENT and makes it adhere to the surface to be embellished. Clarified egg white (glair, clarea) was the principal binding medium used in manuscript ILLUMINATION.
  7. Boards
    The stiff covers at the front and back of a book.
  8. Book of Hours
    A book, also called a primer or horae, for use in private devotions.
  9. Border
    Decorative surrounds, or borders, were popular in GOTHIC and RENAISSANCE illumination and evolved during the thirteenth century from the extenders that sprang from decorated letters. A border surrounds text and/or image and may occupy margins and intercolumnar space
  10. Breviary
    A SERVICE BOOK containing the texts necessary for the celebration of the DIVINE OFFICE.
  11. Burgundian
    Used of a courtly style of art that flourished under the patronage of the Dukes of Burgundy, primarily in Flanders, from the late fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth century.
  12. Catchword
    A word written at the end (generally in the lower margin) of a QUIRE that repeats the first word on the following page. Catchwords facilitate the arrangement of the quires during binding.
  13. Chronicle
    A collection of annals or notes of yearly events. Such recordings developed from the practice of annotating Easter Tables (see CALENDAR). Early chronicles took the form of world or universal histories
  14. Codex (pl. Codices)
    Originating in the first century, the codex (from caudex, the Latin word for tree bark) is a book composed of folded sheets sewn along one edge, distinct from other writing vehicles such as the ROLL or TABLET.
  15. Colophon
    An inscription recording information relating to the circumstances of the production of a manuscript or printed book (the place and/or people involved and, less frequently, the date).
  16. Column Picture
    A MINIATURE that occupies the width of a column (but not necessarily its height).
  17. Donor
    A person who donates a book - and often commissions it as well - to an ecclesiastical establishment. It is sometimes possible to identify the donor or owner of a book through the presence of an inscription, armorial bearings in images or margins, patron saint, or a MOTTO.
  18. Drollery
    An amusing figure, often of a GROTESQUE character.
  19. Gesso
    A thick, water-base paint commonly formed of plaster, CHALK, or gypsum bound together with a glue.
  20. Gliding
    The application of gold or silver to a surface. Gold could be applied as an INK, in an expensive powdered form, for use in detailed work and in CHRYSOGRAPHY, but it was more frequently applied in medieval ILLUMINATION in the form of gold leaf.
  21. Gloss
    A word or words commenting on, elucidating, or translating those of the main text. Glosses were often written in the margins or between the lines. See also MISE-EN-PAGE.
  22. Gradual
    A gradual is the response and versicle to the Epistle reading that constitutes one part of the MASS. The name derives from the practice of singing the gradual on the steps of the raised pulpit. More commonly, however, the term refers to the principal CHOIR BOOK used in the mass.
  23. Grisaille
    Monochrome painting, generally employing shades of grey (the term derives from gris, the French word for 'grey'), executed in a black PIGMENT (such as a carbon-based lampblack) and an inert white pigment.
  24. Grotesque
    A hybrid and comic figure, often combining elements from various human and animal forms.
  25. Ground
    • The writing or painting surface, which may already have been covered with a layer of paint, or the base for metallic PIGMENT such as GESSO or gum. See also BINDING MEDIUM and GILDING.
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  26. Gutter
    • The place where BIFOLIA of writing material are folded and meet the SPINE inside a CODEX.
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  27. Heraldry
    The science of describing armorial bearings.
  28. Illumination
    From the Latin illuminare, 'to enlighten or illuminate', is the embellishment of a manuscript with luminous colours (especially gold and silver). In the past, the colouring of maps and prints was also called illumination.
  29. Internation Style
    A term coined at the end of the nineteenth century to denote a style of late GOTHIC art, practiced in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.
  30. Liturgy
    Rites, observances, or procedures prescribed for public worship.
  31. Missal
    A SERVICE BOOK containing the texts necessary for the performance of the MASS (including chants, prayers, and readings), together with ceremonial directions.
  32. Occupational calendar
    A calendar incorporating a series of illustrations, ultimately of classical origin, that depict the labours appropriate to each of the months
  33. Paleography
    From the Greek palaiographia, meaning 'ancient writing', paleography is the study of the history of SCRIPTS, their adjuncts (such as ABBREVIATION and punctuation), and their decipherment.
  34. Palette
    The range of colours used in a work.
  35. Palimpset
    From the Greek palimpsestos ('scraped again'), a palimpsest is reused writing support material from which the underlying text has been erased (by washing in the case of PAPYRUS and by using PUMICE or other scraping devices in the case of PARCHMENT). Erasure was not always complete and an underlying text can often be read with the assistance of ultraviolet light.
  36. Papyrus
    A writing support material made from the papyrus plant, a species of water-grown sedge that grew abundantly in ancient Egypt, where it was used from about 3000 B.C.
  37. Parchment
    A writing support material that derives its name from Pergamon (Bergama in modern Turkey), an early production centre. The term is often used generically to denote animal skin prepared to receive writing, although it is more correctly applied only to sheep and goat skin, with the term vellum reserved for calfskin
  38. Patron
    The person responsible for commissioning a work.
  39. Pen-flourished initial
    An INITIAL with a fine linear embellishment, produced with a thin PEN and either text INK or coloured inks. Blue and red were generally used during the late ROMANESQUE and GOTHICperiods
  40. Pigment
    The colouring agent in paint.
  41. Provenance
    Provenance is the history of a book's ownership.
  42. Psalter
    The psalter is the Book of Psalms.
  43. Roll
    The (rotulus or volumen) was, along with the TABLET, the principal vehicle for writing during ANTIQUITY.
  44. Rubric
    A title, chapter heading, or instruction that is not strictly part of the text but which helps to identify its components. Red INK was often used to distinguish such elements, hence the term, which derives from the Latin for red, rubrica.
  45. Tooled
    The decoration of a surface with the aid of metal hand tools and stamps (a technique employing the latter being termed stamped).
  46. Trompe I'oeil
    A French expression meaning 'deceives the eye', trompe l'oeil describes painting in which things are made to appear to be resting on or projecting from the surface of the picture.
  47. Use
    Refers to a LITURGY practiced in a particular geographic region or by a particular group of people.
  48. Antiquity
    The classical world of Greece and Rome, prior to the decline of the Roman Empire during the fifth century and the occupation of much of its former territory by barbarian peoples.
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AHRS 331 Technical Terms
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Manuscript
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