Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination fron Philadelphia Collections
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The Learning Center
Slide Show | How Manuscripts Were Made
Manuscript Templates | Make a Manuscript Online
When Books Were Rare and Beautiful
Reading Lists | Suppliers | Teacher Introduction

Glossary: Medieval Manuscript Terms

The Leaves of Gold Learning Center


St. Mark writes while his attribute, a playful lion, supervises. Watch for other little jokes in the illustrations -- especially in the margins!
(Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Collins Hours)

Today, books are everywhere! How many books do you have at your house? Probably quite a few. Now, here's a question for you: how many of them were made entirely by hand?

In the Middle Ages, books were as rare as jewels and as precious as gold because they were made by hand. Some of the books on the Leaves of Gold website cost as much as a luxury car and took as long as a year to make. Some of the books actually have both gold and jewels in them. The gold is used for illumination, to light up the pages. And some colors are made of ground-up jewels.

The Leaves of Gold Learning Center was designed for a general audience, especially younger learners. Learn about the kinds of medieval manuscripts with our slide show...learn how medieval manuscripts were made, or design your own using our instructions and printable templates. If you have a fast internet connection, you can even make a manuscript online. See other links in the menu above.

Next stop: The Slide Show (Teachers: see this Learning Center Introduction)

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Leaves of Gold is a collaborative exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries. All materials on this site are copyright 2001 the Philadelphia Museum of Art except as indicated herein.