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Damselfly & Snail Medieval Manuscript Metal Bookmark


The margins of medieval manuscripts are often ornamented with elaborate decorative illustrations, also known as “marginalia”.  This bookmark is a detail from a sixteenth-century French manuscript and depicts a damselfly, iris, and snail.  Their exact, iconographic meaning is lost to time, but it is hard not to feel the poor snail's plight as he looks at the freedom of the damselfly.

Decorated Text Page
Maker Name: Unknown, illuminator
Type: Manuscripts
Medium: Tempera colors and gold paint on parchment
Place: Place Created: Tours France Paris France
Date: about 1528 - 1530

Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

Finish: Solid brass, electro-plated with non-tarnishing silver finish, giclee print
Dimensions: Approx. 1.25" W x 4" L (Packaged in Recycled PET Plastic Sleeve with Provenance Card)

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