donderdag 29 september 2016
8th-century manuscript in Leuven for detailed analysis
The 8th-century Codex Eyckensis, the oldest book of the Low Countries, is now in Leuven for further research by the Catholic University of Leuven. The manuscript is part of the religious treasure of Saint-Catherine in Maaseik, and has exceptionally left its home in the crypt for a thorough inspection at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies in Leuven.
The Codex Eyckensis, an illustrated gospel book in Latin, was produced in the 8th century at the Abbey of Echternach. Archbishop Willibrord himself took it to the newly founded Abbey of Aldeneik, near Maaseik, where it later found its final home. Professor Lieve Watteeuw (Book Heritage Lab, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, and Illuminare – Study Centre of Medieval Art, Faculty of Arts): “This means that since the 8th century, the Codex Eyckensis was cared for in the region for which it was originally intended. Whereas similar manuscripts have been scattered over the centuries, ending up in royal collections or musea, the Codex Eyckensis has always remained in its intended place of residence.
Professor Watteeuw’s first encounter with the Codex Eyckensis took place in 1991, when she assisted in the restauration of the manuscript. “Today we have a number of brand-new research techniques at our disposition. These were often developed for other sciences, such as space technology or medicine, but can be applied to heritage studies as well.” The application of those new techniques will enable Professor Watteeuw and her colleagues to study the characteristics of the colour pigments, the dyes and the parchment in detail. “We also hope to find out more about the position of the manuscript at the time of its creation. We know that the Codex Eyckensis fits in with the tradition of Irish monks travelling to the continent as missionaries, but we would like to investigate how exactly the manuscript relates to other books from this era.”
The Codex Eyckensis was digitalized in 2015, in cooperation with the Digital Lab of the KU Leuven University Library. The digital version can be consulted at www.codexeyckensis.be.