I came across these gems while sorting through files of old pictures.
About eight years ago, Maria and I were in western Massachusetts. These beautiful manuscripts were in a restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely dinner. I took these pictures with the intent to share them with you. Well, better late than never. (Or, maybe I already did and we all get to enjoy them again!)
I estimate that these manuscripts are from the 17th or 18th century. They are all hand-lettered on vellum, probably a sheepskin or a goatskin.
The pen strokes were beautiful, so fresh and crisp, you wonder if the ink was still wet. But take a look at the tangles embellishing the initial capital letters.
Here's a closer look . . .
Check out those aura lines holding delicious fragments . . . and that gently crenelated outer aura. What a hand!
And in this next close-up . . .
More auras surrounding some flux (or is it mooka?) with some tiny orbs in the interstices. And what is that in the middle of the Q? I haven't seen that before. That has great potential for a new border tangle.
Check out the background in that angled pattern. It's not a solid color. It's a tight cross-hatching. What care and affection went into this creation! Perhaps in some dimension, the scribes' hearts are basking in the appreciation of thousands of readers admiring these precious jewels.
Here's a beautiful large illuminated C with marginalia:
I love that positive/negative medallion in the margin with the vinings echoing sampson or is that icanthis? Look at that wonderful adaptation of hollis inside the letter. What a great idea to use hollis to totally fill a section as it curves and grows within itself.
When I interrupted Maria that quiet Saturday back in 2003, she was embellishing a gilded letter with simple patterns in the spirit of these manuscripts. If you've heard our story, that was the seed inspiration for this grand Zentangle adventure. I think that is one reason we were so drawn to these manuscripts.
Here are a couple more examples of some of the smaller initial caps using mooka, hollis, and, of course, lots of auraing.
Here's one more . . .
Notice the triangular fragment to the right of the "S." It looks like fragment F12 in Zentangle Primer Vol 1. What's old is new again. Or, what's new is old again!
See how the artist uses aura in the above three letters to create a slight space between the interior tangle and the letter. That is a familiar technique in Zentangle compositions when a tangle is next to another shape.
And here is the other large capital with marginalia:
The delicate hollis in the margin balances the more structured hollis inside the Q.
In this last close-up we focus on that intertwining cable-like pattern:
I've started playing with different ways to deconstruct it to create a step-out. I think it might be enjoyable to tangle.
This can be a fun exercise for you to explore deconstruction.
Deconstruct ( dē′ • kən • strŭkt′ ) - To reduce a pattern to its elemental strokes so that a user of the Zentangle Method can recreate it as a tangle, by repeating those strokes one at a time in a simple, structured sequence.
If you'd like to play along, send a picture of your step-out to email@example.com and I'll share some of them in my next blog post. I look forward to seeing possible different ways to approach this pattern in a Zentangle way.
(This may already be a tangle out in the Zentangle universe. If it is, let me know. But even if it is, you might try creating your own step-out first.)
Have fun with all this!
If you're new to the Zentangle blog, the words in italic are names of patterns that we call tangles. A good way to see what tangles look like is to download the Zentangle Mosaic app. It works on iOS and Android. You can search the contents for free. You can subscribe if you want to post and comment.