For the Irish so Loved the Book…

For the Irish so loved the Book… They built shrines in which to house them.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, I’m reminded of the monks who illuminated the Book of Kells and other precious manuscripts. Beyond their talents as artists, scribes and custodians, their dedication to preserving vital texts sometimes extended to the creation of ‘cumdachs’. And they are stunning.

A cumdach or book shrine is an elaborate ornamented box or case used as a reliquary to enshrine books regarded as relics of the saints who had used them in Early Medieval Ireland. They are normally dated later than the book they contain, often by several centuries. (from Wikipedia).

Today is an ideal time to take a moment and appreciate the beauty of some of these unique and exquisite contributions from the Irish that will speak to every book lover’s heart.

Cumdach or Book Shrine of Molaise | est. 1001 AD - 1025 AD

Cumdach or Book Shrine of Molaise | est. 1001 AD – 1025 AD

bday 3-17 repro of Shrine of O'Donnell - Cathach or Battler

Reproduction of the Shrine of O’Donnell – Cathach or Battler (original dated 1084)

bday 3-17 shrine for a book was found on the bed of Lough Kinale in 1986

Shrine for a book | Found in the bed of Lough Kinale in 1986.

bday 3-17 Shrine_of_Book_of_Dimma

Reproduction of Shrine of the Book of Dimma, Roscrea, Co Tipperary. 12th century (original in Library of Trinity College, Dublin)

bday 3-17 St Columba psalter holy book 561 ad to 1843 ad

St. Columba psalter (est 561AD to 843AD)

Domhnach Airgid Shrine

The shrine known as the Domhnach Airgid (“silver church”) was originally 8th century, but little is visible from before a major reworking around 1350 by the abbot of Clones.

The Stowe Missal | the metalwork is elaborately decorated, with some animal and human figures, and one face and the sides probably dates to between 1027 and 1033.

The Stowe Missal | the metalwork is elaborately decorated, with some animal and human figures, and one face and the sides probably dates to between 1027 and 1033.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s