Celticsprite’s Blog


The Book of Kells: Revealing It’s Secrets
September 8, 2010, 4:01 am
Filed under: Celtic Culture
Although this is a manuscript written 12 centuries ago and revered as a wonder of the Western world practically ever since little is known of the Book of Kells and the Gospels, written in Latin and lavishly illustrated. However, the book may be about to cede some of its many secrets.
Experts at Trinity College, Dublin, home of the Book of Kells from 346 years ago, authorized to carry out an analysis with laser two-year Treasury, a major tourist attraction in Ireland, with over 550,000 visitors año.Conocida as Raman spectroscopy to the innovative laser technology and study the chemical composition of the book, its pigments, inks, and its thin pages of vellum, or calfskin.

While awaiting the results of the analysis, experts assume that expensive materials used for some of the blue pigments came from the stone lapis lazuli, mined in northeast Afghanistan. It is believed that the yellow pigments were produced with arsenic sulfide and red pigments, known as kermes, resulting from the dried bodies of pregnant and a family of Mediterranean insect, data suggesting the existence of extraordinary trade routes for the ninth century.

“Essentially the laser bounces and get a spectrum,” said Robin Adams, Librarian of Trinity College, hopes that the detailed analysis of the laser point to point and help reveal secrets of the book conservation.

The book was created around the year 800, in honor of the achievements two centuries before by St. Columba, also known as Colm Cille. It was an Irish nobleman who in Ireland and Scotland founded one of the first monastic traditions in the world devoted to scholarship and Christian worship. Irish legend relates that Columba, after losing a bitter legal battle over its right to produce copies of books, was exiled to canvas Scottish island where it is believed he wrote the Book of Kells.
However, in the year there were 806 incursions Netherlands or Scandinavian Vikings in the island, and Irish monks hid the book for their protection. He ended up arriving at Kells, a monastery located in the Irish county of Meath, just outside Dublin. He survived new waves of raids, including one by bandits who, according to chronicles of the time, seized the book in 1007. It was recovered two months later by monks under a layer of earth and stripped of its covering of gold. The book remained at Kells until the wars waged by Oliver Cromwell, in the seventeenth century.

It is said that Henry Jones, senior Protestant clergyman who had served as quartermaster general of the invading army, “donated” the book to Trinity College sometime after 1661.

It is likely to continue the mystery about the fact that the book was written on canvas, Kells monastery or other place in which St. Columba resided. Perhaps only a DNA test of the vellum would reveal the age and provenance of the leather used and the manufacturing Luga r book. Adams asked whether such an analysis could elucidate the secret.

“I’ve always wondered whether a technique could tell us where the cattle were and where they came from,” said Adams. “Did the skins were taken from another point? Was a fur trade or were produced locally? That would help us to know more. It is exactly what we do to implement these new techniques.”

Source: Eamon Quinn from the New York Times

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