Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mustari, Louis Frank, 1930-

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)

Legacy Department

School of Art


The carpet pages in the Insular gospel manuscripts have always been renowned for their great beauty and intricacies that appeal visually and aesthetically. But what has become more and more apparent is their intentional appeal to the intellect as well as the eye. The decoration in the gospels consists of embellishment of the text, figure renditions, and full pages of abstract design, known as carpet pages. These jewel like illuminations were indisputable proof to the early christians in Great Britain of the splendor and majesty of God's word. However, to the learned man who was current with the travels in the Holy Land the illuminations were coded with much more meaning than mere aesthetics. To discover this meaning the background of the illuminations must be uncovered and the iconology of the eighth century brought forward to be understood by our twentieth century minds. It is well known that medieval artists used models for their designs and the scribes of the Insular manuscripts were no exception. There are several theories as to the sources of the carpet pages. These fall generally into two categories, one being a domestic source, the other being some external source. The clues for discovering the sources of the carpet pages must be found within the pages themselves.


Includes bibliographical references.


34 pages (various pagings)




Northern Illinois University

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