If you weren’t already aware, it’s the first day of December. Because today is the day that 98.1 CHFI becomes an all-Christmas music station until Christmas Day, I thought I too would get in the holiday spirit. So, I’ve decided to post one Nativity scene from a manuscript or printed book each day until Christmas. Kind of like… a Nativity scene advent calendar. But way cooler, because it includes my commentary. Note that these daily posts will replace my regular weekly posts.
Here we go!
The T’oros Roslin Gospels, 1262
The first thing I noticed about this image was the beautiful purple of Mary’s clothing. This purple ink was likely made from the liquid excrement of two gastropods (snails) – the purpura and the murex. Mmmm. Snail juices.
I also couldn’t help but notice the magi. I mean, one is wearing cowboy boots, one is seemingly disinterested in the whole situation, and one is carrying what looks to be a turkey. Everyone, I present to you: the first-ever Christmas turkey dinner. Perhaps, though, it’s a good thing this wise man has a turkey. After all, the ox and ass look a little hungry, and it kind of looks like they’re about to gobble up Baby Jesus. For the love of all that is good, Wise Man, get over there and give those hungry animals that turkey before there is no longer a saviour to celebrate the arrival of.
Because I know almost nothing about Turkish manuscripts, I recommend that you visit the British Library’s website for its Turkish/Turkic manuscript collection if you want to learn more.