Missale Quinqueecclesiense

Missale Quinqueecclesiense Facsimile Edition

Venice (Italy) — 1499

The process of book production was globalized as early as the 15th century: a missal for the Hungarian bishop of Pécs printed in Venice and colored by hand in Buda

  1. The second edition of the missal was printed in Venice on 24 April 1499 before being colored by hand in Buda

  2. The woodcuts include biblical scenes, decorative initials, and floral frames, some of which were adorned with gold

  3. The copy known as the Pécs Missal has had a tumultuous and often mysterious history from the Turkish occupation to the Cold War

Missale Quinqueecclesiense

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Missale Quinqueecclesiense

Originally printed in Basel in 1487, the Missale Quinqueecclesiense contains the missal commissioned by the Bishop Zsigmond Ernuszt of Pécs. The second, more artfully adorned edition was published in the Venetian print shop of Johannes Emericus de Spira, a native of Speyer, on 24 April 1499 – the feast of St. George the Dragon Slayer. It was commissioned by Johannes Paep, a bookseller from Buda, on the behalf of the aforementioned humanist bishop presumably because the first edition was insufficient in number to meet demand.
Printed in red and black ink, vellum copies of the work were adorned with woodcuts, which were then colored by hand in Buda. These woodcuts include biblical scenes, decorative initials, and floral frames, some of which were adorned with gold. The copy known as the Pécs Missal has had a tumultuous and often mysterious history that is closely tied with the history of Hungary from the Turkish occupation to the Cold War. Furthermore, it contains descriptions of unique local rites which give an insight into the everyday life and customs of the religious people of Pécs during the Middle Ages.

Missale Quinqueecclesiense

After the closure of the first printing press in Buda in 1473, Hungarian booksellers were forced to look to German, Austrian, French, and Italian printers to meet their needs. Before the adoption of the uniform Roman Missal in 1630, Hungarian dioceses used their own missals with specific features such as special rites and the veneration of local saints. This is also true of the medieval Diocese of Pécs, which published two editions of its own missal in the last decades of the 15th century: the Missale Quinqueecclesiense, also known as the Pécs Missal. Aside from being an exemplary work of book art, it provides insight into the everyday life and customs of the religious people of Pécs during the Middle Ages.
The first, less ornate edition was published in Basel by Michael Wenssler (ca. 1445–1512) at the behest of the humanist Bishop Zsigmond Ernuszt of Pécs (1473–1505). It was followed by a second edition that was commissioned by an antiquarian and bookseller from Buda named Johannes Paep on behalf of the Bishop of Pécs and published in Venice by Johann Emerich (d. 1499), also known as Johannes Emericus de Spira, a native of Speyer, on the 24th of April 1499, the feast of St. George the Dragon Slayer. Emerich’s tasteful and finely engraved missals, produced for several dioceses in Hungary, were very popular. Interestingly, although Paep was one of Emerich’s regular clients, the printer consistently omitted his name from the colophon of the prints he produced for him.

Design of the Missal

The Pécs Missal was printed in two colors: black for the text and red for the rubrics. Three decorated parchment copies and one unadorned paper copy survive today. Expensive vellum editions such as this were adorned with woodcut initials as well as hand-painted miniatures and decorative floral frames, which were illuminated with gold leaf. The similarity of the decoration of the surviving copies suggests that they were all made in an atelier in Buda that closely followed the style of the Florentine master Attavante degli Attavanti (1452–1525). It is remarkable how well integrated the printed and handmade elements of the codex are in this exceptional example of an incunabulum.

An Adventurous History

It is reasonable to assume that several copies of the missal existed in Pécs before it was occupied by the Ottoman Turks in 1543. What happened to these codices and this copy in particular between then and the liberation of the city by the army of the Holy Roman Empire in 1686 remains unknown, but somehow it survived.
Bishop György Klimó (1710–77) learned from historical sources about the existence of the late 15th century Pécs missal in Kassa and wrote a letter dated the 15th of September 1768 to the Canon of Eger requesting a volume containing important aspects of the history of Pécs' rituals. A copy arrived in Pécs in the spring of 1769 with the approval of Bishop Károly Eszterházy of Eger (1761-1799), and from then on it enriched the collection of the Pécs Episcopal Library, which was made public in 1774.
Its temporary location in Cassovia is indicated by the first inscription on the frontispiece: Missale Civitatis Cassoviensis, which complicated the identification of the volume for a long time. The three parchment copies are all incomplete, but fortunately all of their existing parts complement one another so that a facsimile of a complete copy of the missal could be created.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Missale Civitatis Cassoviensis
Origin
Italy
Date
1499
Language
Illustrations
Poignant full-page miniatures and historiated initials, bordures with vegetal elements
Artist / School
Previous Owners
György Klimo (bishop of Pécs)

Available facsimile editions:
Missale Quinqueecclesiense – Inc. 989 – Országos Széchényi Könyvtár (Budapest, Hungary) Facsimile Edition
Schöck ArtPrint Kft. – Szekszárd, 2009
Facsimile Editions

#1 Pécsi Missale

Schöck ArtPrint Kft. – Szekszárd, 2009
Missale Quinqueecclesiense – Inc. 989 – Országos Széchényi Könyvtár (Budapest, Hungary) Facsimile Edition
Missale Quinqueecclesiense – Inc. 989 – Országos Széchényi Könyvtár (Budapest, Hungary) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Schöck ArtPrint Kft. – Szekszárd, 2009
Commentary: 1 volume with contributions by Tamás Fedeles, József Török and Eva Pohánka
The oldest printed missal in Pécs was completely reconstructed by the publisher from the 4 surviving but incomplete copies
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