LOCBIB_150117_08
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The Giant Bible of Mainz:
The Giant Bible is composed of 459 vellum skin leaves, each measuring 22 x 16 inches. The pages are fully ruled in faint brown ink, which served as guides for the scribe as he wrote out the text. The text is organized in two columns of sixty lines per page, and the letter forms employed by the scribe are large, erect, laterally compressed black letter forms. These forms were common in manuscripts produced in the middle and lower regions of the Rhine River but was not exclusive to Mainz. Two tones of black ink were used for the text, and the chapter headings and paragraphs were highlighted with alternating red and blue ink in both volumes. The manuscript is bound in full contemporary pigskin, without decoration. The text block is secured by nine cords with head and tail bands of red, white, and green silk. The scribe who created the manuscript recorded his progress by writing the specific date when he began and finished a particular section of the Bible. He began his work on April 4, 1452, and ended on July 9, 1453 -- fifteen months after beginning the project.

The most distinguishing characteristic of the Giant Bible are the illuminations that embellish the text. The two volumes are decorated with patterned initial letters, historiated initials (large letters that contain an identifiable scene or figures), and gilt-burnished initials. Finely crafted decorative borders are found on five pages of the first volume. These borders are adorned with a branch, vine, and floral pattern that acts as a framework supporting artistic renderings of rabbits, hunters, stags, princesses, bears, and the like, all exquisitely designed and painted in bright primary colors. These border designs are the chief evidence that link the Giant Bible to the city of Mainz and are continuously being studied by experts on medieval illuminated manuscripts.
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