Mappae clavicula


Mappae clavicula

The Mappae clavicula is a medieval Latin text, a compilation containing recipes for a number of crafts including metalwork, dyeing and mosaic, as well as several recipes relevant to painting. Of this substantial collection (about 300 recipes), the core was probably originally compiled around AD 600, perhaps in Alexandria, and contains items traceable to earlier Classical texts and to the Stockholm papyrus and Leiden Papyrus X. The first few recipes in the Phillips-Corning MS of the Mappae clavicula were long considered integral, but they form a distinct separate entity, the De coloribus et mixtionibus, which survives (in whole or in part) in at least 62 manuscripts.[1]

Contents

Manuscripts

A great many mediaeval manuscripts contain recipes from this compilation text. The best manuscripts of the Mappae clavicula date from the eighth to the twelfth century.,[2][3]

The principal manuscripts are:

  • The Lucca MS, Lucca, Biblioteca Capitolare Feliniana, Codex 490, the oldest witness, c.800.
  • The Sélestat MS, Sélestat, Bibliothèque Humaniste, MS 17. A very full yet old witness, early ninth century.
  • The Codex Matritensis ('Madrid codex'), Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS A.16 (Was: MS A.19), c.1130.
  • The Phillipps-Corning Manuscript, Corning Museum of Glass, MS 5 , late twelfth century, perhaps the fullest collection.

These are simply among the fullest witnesses - there are dozens more that preserve extracts.[4]

Title

The title, Mappae clavicula, is absurd, translating approximately as 'the little key to the small cloth'. The best explanation is that it is a mis-translation from a Greek original, in which χειρόκμητον ('knack' or 'trick of the trade') was mis-read as χειρόμακτρον ('hand-towel').[5] This is consistent with the observation that certain recipes derive from the Greek technical papyri, the Leyden papyrus X and the Stockholm papyrus.

Published Latin Edition

Sir Thomas Phillipps, "A transcript of a manuscript treatise on the preparation of pigments, and on various processes of the decorative arts practised during the Middle Ages, written in the twelfth century, and entitled Mappae Clavicula." Published in journal Archaeologia, volume XXXII, pages 183–244, year 1847. Downloadable at Archive.org.

English translation

Smith, C. S. and J. G. Hawthorne (1974) ‘Mappae Clavicula: A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques’, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society: Held at Philadelphia for promoting useful knowledge (new series) 64 (4) [occupies whole issue].

References

  1. ^ Clarke, M. (2001) The Art of All Colours: Mediaeval Recipe Books for Painters and Illuminators. London: Archetype Publications.
  2. ^ Clarke 2001 op. cit.
  3. ^ Smith, C. S. and J. G. Hawthorne (1974) ‘Mappae Clavicula: A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques’, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society: Held at Philadelphia for promoting useful knowledge (new series) 64 (4) [occupies whole issue].
  4. ^ Clarke 2001 op. cit.
  5. ^ Robert Halleux, 'Recettes d'artisan, recettes d'alchimiste', in: R. Jansen-Sieben (ed.) Artes mechanicae, Archives et bibliothèques de Belgique, no. spécial 34 (Brussels, 1989), p. 28

External links


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