Parchment, pens, and pigments: videos from the NYPL’s “Three Faiths” exhibition

If, like me, you geek out over calligraphy, manuscript illumination, parchment-making, and other aspects of the scribe’s craft, these videos — from the New York Public Library’s new exhibition, “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” — are a must-see:

More videos on specific manuscripts — the Scroll of Esther, the Tales of the Prophets, the Harkness Gospels, and others — can be viewed here.

From the exhibition’s website:

Three Faiths includes 200 rare and precious works created over the past 1,500 years. Among them, great works of the miniaturist’s art and of calligraphy, drawn from all three faiths, delight the eye, as they have done since their creation centuries ago. Manuscript materials are accompanied by some of the most significant printed works of the past 550 years. The scrolls, codices, illuminated manuscripts, and printed volumes are complemented selectively by important bindings, early photographs, prints, maps, and liturgical or ritual objects dating from the fifth century of the Common Era (CE) to the present.

I’m so there. Being an atheist in no way diminishes my appreciation for the craftsmanship, the artistry, the painstaking attention to detail, and the sheer devotion that went into the making of these astonishing works — and that continue to inform the work of modern scribes today.

“Three Faiths” is on view through February 2011. I may post some further thoughts once I’ve seen it; stay tuned.


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