Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination fron Philadelphia Collections
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BIBLES: Introduction | Gallery Guide
BOOKS OF HOURS: Introduction | Gallery Guide
PSALTERS: Introduction | Gallery Guide
LITURGICAL: Introduction | Gallery Guide
LITERARY: Introduction | Gallery Guide

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Book of Hours for Rome Use
Belgium, Bruges, late 15th century
The Master of Edward IV, active 1470s to c. 1500

The Three Living and Three Dead. A significant component of Books of Hours was the Office of the Dead, a series of prayers said on behalf of one's departed relatives and friends. Here the Office is introduced by the legend of the Three Living and Three Dead in which three men ride by a graveyard and are accosted by three skeletons who warn them: "We were once as you are now, and what we are you soon shall be." Skulls line the margins of the page and the motto "Memento mori" (Remember death) urges the living to be mindful of their own deaths.

The Free Library of Philadelphia, Rare Book Department, Lewis E 108, fol. 109v

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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.