Precious Gospels of Bernward (front and back covers)
ca. 1015/refurbished ca. 1194
Covers: silver, gilded silver with niello, filigree, semiprecious stones, and late 10th-century Byzantine (Constantinople) ivory on wood foundation; Manuscript: tempera, gold, and silver on parchment
Overall: 11 x 7 7/8 in. (28 x 20 cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Dom-Museum Hildesheim (DS 18)
Not on view
Bishop Bernward donated this gospel book with its elaborate cover of precious materials to the abbey of Saint Michael in Hildesheim. The central ivory plaque, taken from a prestigious Byzantine triptych, depicts Christ flanked by Mary and John. The cover’s renewal in the late twelfth century, probably to secure or commemorate Bernward’s canonization, added the gilded silver crucifix and symbols of the Evangelists, antique intaglios, and precious and semiprecious stones.
St. Michael's Monastery, Hildesheim (ca. 1015 and ca. 1194); Cathedral Treasury, Hildesheim (19th century); Dom-Museum Hildesheim
Documentation: Victor Heinrich Elbern, Der Hildesheimer Domschatz (Hildesheim: Lax, 1969), no. 18; Michael Brandt and Arne Eggebrecht, eds., Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen: Katalog der Ausstellung, Hildesheim 1993 (Hildesheim: Bernward Verlag/Mainz: Ph. v. Zabern, 1993), vol. 2, pp. 570-578.