SCUA News

Special Collections and University Archives

Special Collections and University Archives at UNCG’s University Libraries has mounted an exhibit highlighting the rich tradition of illuminated manuscripts in Europe, India, Persia, Ethiopia, and Armenia.  By presenting these works within a global perspective, the exhibit, Wondrous Works: Illuminated Manuscripts From Three Continents, strives to broaden our understanding of the history of the book, the influence of artistic trends on illuminated works, and the cultural contact and cultural exchange amongst peoples. 
Working with local bookman Norman Smith and his collection of rare works, the exhibit features manuscripts that were created during or shortly after the invention of movable type in 1454.  Despite the wide spread adoption of print technology, the exhibit reveals a continued interest and market for illuminated works well into the 1600s.
The term manuscript comes from the Latin word for “handwritten.”  Before the invention of movable type, all books had to be written out by hand.  It was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that could take months or years to complete.  Some manuscripts were made even more special by the process of “illumination.”  This term comes from the Latin word for “lit up” or “enlightened” and refers to the use of bright colors and precious metals to embellish initial letters or to portray whole scenes.

The Hodges Reading Room is open to the public from 9 AM – 5 PM, Monday – Friday.

The exhibit closes on May 20, 2016.

– Keith Gorman

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