Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex

Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex

San Salvador Monastery in Tábara (Spain) — 10th century

Completed exactly on July 27, 970: a unique Beatus manuscript and milestone in art history with the miniature of the famous tower scriptorium of the Tábara monastery

  1. Most of the splendid miniatures of this Beatus manuscript were removed and sold as single sheets

  2. The miniature of the tower scriptorium of Tábara Monastery is an art-historical milestone

  3. The incredibly well documented manuscript has an exact date of completion: July 27th, 970

Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex

Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex

The famous depiction of the scriptorium in the tower makes the Tábara Codex a unique specimen of the northern Spanish Beatus tradition. Yet the manuscript, dated the 27th of July, 970, rests on other laurels, e.g. with the naming of the famous miniaturist Maius and his pupil Emeterius. The famous scriptorium of San Salvador de Tábara produced a true masterpiece with this Beatus codex, which in turn served as a template for other magnificent manuscripts. Today the Tábara Codex is stored in the Spanish National Archive in Madrid.

Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex

The famous depiction of the scriptorium in the tower makes the Tábara Codex a unique specimen of the northern Spanish Beatus tradition. Yet the manuscript, dated the 27th of July, 970, rests on other laurels, e.g. with the naming of the famous miniaturist Maius and his pupil Emeterius. The famous scriptorium of San Salvador de Tábara produced a true masterpiece with this Beatus codex, which in turn served as a template for other magnificent manuscripts. Today the Tábara Codex is stored in the Spanish National Archive in Madrid.

A Plundered Treasure

The Beatus manuscripts of the 10th–12th centuries altogether comprise great highpoints of northern Spanish illumination. Yet there are a few specimens that distinguish themselves through their particular characteristics or outstanding quality. Most certainly belonging among these is the Tábara Codex. The 366 pages of the codex are unfortunately only adorned with eight miniatures. Yet this fact – the remaining pictures were cut out and probably stored separately – indicates the high esteem that the artistic furnishings of the manuscript enjoyed in earlier centuries. The original splendor of the pictorial content of the famous Tábara Codex can still be comprehended in spite of everything because the Beatus of Los Huelgas (found today in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York) was copied from the Tábara Codex ca. 1220.

The Famous Tower Scriptorium

A particularly well-known and groundbreaking miniature is nonetheless still contained in the codex: the famous miniature with the depiction of the monastery’s tower, in which the famous scriptorium was found. This depiction of the famous tower scriptorium of Tábara is simultaneously the oldest and sui generis of its type in European art. The monastery of San Salvador de Tábara in León was a center of book production of great and important proportions in the 10th and 11th centuries. It was in this very scriptorium that the Tábara Codex was finished in the year 970, which can be understood by the dating of the manuscript to the 27th of July, 970.

The Master Maius and his Pupil

A famous monk and miniaturist from the scriptorium of Tábara was responsible for the artistic furnishing of the codex. In the manuscript, a certain Emeterius records the death of his teacher Maius on the 30th of October, 968. This Maius is generally believed to be the Maius, the famous miniaturist. Alongside Maius and Emeterius, who continued the work of his teacher, the names of two other scribes, Monnius and Senior, are mentioned. These detailed notes in the manuscript make the Tábara Codex something truly special. Furthermore, the text contains marginal notes in Arabic. This can be an indication of the manuscript’s use in a “Mozarabic” context, so from a Christian of Andalusian origin, and represents a further special feature. As a result, the Tábara Codex, which is housed today in the Spanish National Archives in Madrid, is an exceptional piece of art history and an important witness to the great Beatus tradition of northern Spain!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Beatus von Liébana - Codex von Tábara
Beato de Tábara
Tabara Beatus
Size / Format
366 pages / 36.0 × 25.5 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
10th century
Style
Illustrations
8 illustrations
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Ramón Alvarez de la Braña
Diplomatic School of Spain

Available facsimile editions:
Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex – 1097B – Archivo Histórico Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2003
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Detail Picture

Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex

Omega

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8). Created with delicate shades of pink and purple, bright red, and golden yellow, this elaborate initial appears above a colophon in the text. It explains that work on the manuscript was begun by Master Magius, but he died before finishing it and the work was carried on by his disciple Emeterio and a nun named Eude, who completed it on July 27th, 970.

Beato de Tábara
Single Page

Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex

Tower Scriptorium of the Tábara monastery

The tower scriptorium of the San Salvador de Tábara Monastery was one of the most important sites for the production of manuscripts during the 10th and 11th centuries. This miniature of the important edifice is the oldest image of a scriptorium found in all of medieval European art and is considered to be one of the most interesting specimens of Mozarabic illumination.

Two scribes, identified in an inscription as Emeterio and Senior, are working together in the scriptorium while in an adjacent room, a third figure is shown cutting parchment with scissors. Three additional figures are shown climbing up ladders to reach the bells at the top of the tower, which is covered in colorful tiles and has horseshoe arches in the Moorish style.

Beato de Tábara
Facsimile Editions

#1 Beato de Tábara

Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex – 1097B – Archivo Histórico Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - Tábara Codex – 1097B – Archivo Histórico Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2003
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: Brown goatskin handbound and handstitched; both covers imprinted with motifs from the manuscript and secured by two bronze fleur-de-lys clasps.
Commentary: 1 volume (172 pages) by Vicente Garcia De Wolf and John Williams,
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
You might also be interested in:
Beatus of Liébana - Codex Urgellensis
Beatus of Liébana - Codex Urgellensis
San Millán de Suso, Léon or La Rioja (Spain) – Last quarter of the 10th century

Stolen in 1996 and returned a year later: a great jewel among the Beatus manuscripts

Experience More
Gulbenkian Apocalypse
Gulbenkian Apocalypse
London (United Kingdom) – 1265–1270

Breathtakingly beautiful, golden miniatures for the Pope: one of the most beautiful English apocalypse manuscripts of the early Gothic period

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher