Monday, April 9, 2012

Holy Women at the Tomb.
Syriac Gospel Lectionary, Northern Iraq, 1216–20.

In between posts this week, I thought I'd share some Resurrection-themed artwork.  This is a detail of an illustration from a Syriac Gospel Lectionary from northern Iraq (1216–20), titled "Holy Women at the Tomb."

The image of the Holy Women visiting the tomb of Christ illustrates the text of St Matthew, in which he recounts that at dawn on the first day of the week St Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb and saw an angel, who said to them: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." (Matthew 28:5-6). 
The manuscript shows a strong Byzantine influence in the choice of texts and style of illustrations. However, many of the details of the illustrations, such as trees, rocks, architecture, and much of the clothing, are Islamic in style.

I LOVE the colors, the stylized plants, the beauty of the written Syriac script, and the fact that it combines images from the Bible with two different stylistic sources, Byzantine and Islamic art.  If I understand correctly, the modern Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church in Iraq both employ "the oldest surviving liturgy in Christianity, the Liturgy of St. James the Apostle, and [use] Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic spoken by Jesus Christ and his Apostles, as its official and liturgical language."

More information about the image can be found at the British Library website.

No comments:

Post a Comment