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Nice set of 3 well-preserved altarcards, calligraphed in red and black
and profusely illustrated from around 1850

[3 altar cards].
ca. 1850. Central altar card (47 x 69,5 cm) with two side cards (42 x 33 cm).
€ 2,500
The central altar card is lavishly decorated in a classical style and features a large miniature of the Last Supper along with five additional miniatures depicting scenes from the Nativity of Jesus, the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and Christ with a crown of thorns. The Canon text on the card is beautifully calligraphed and surrounded by impressive borders adorned with motifs such as two large angels, flowers, acanthus leaves, and Crosses. Two smaller altar cards are also present, each with two miniatures and two large angels. Like the central card, the text on these cards is also calligraphed and surrounded by richly decorated borders consisting of acanthus leaves, flowers, and fruit twines. The tradition of using altar cards dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries when only the large central card with the text of the liturgy was used. This made it easier for the celebrant to read the text during Mass. In the 17th century, the Gospel of John was added to the central card, and a third card was introduced for symmetry. While the sequence and number of texts on the cards varied, the central card was always the largest. Until the Second Vatican Council in 1962, the altar cards were present on the High Altar during the Tridentine Mass. The large central card containing extracts from the Canon of the Mass was placed centrally on the Altar. The smaller card containing the text of the "Cum Lavat Manus" prayer and the adding of water to the wine was placed on one side of the Altar, while the other small card with the beginning of the Gospel of John was placed on the Gospel side of the Altar. After the Mass, the cards were removed or put away under the Altar cloth.
A few unobtrusive tiny stains, a few text lines a bit pale, but altogether a fine set.
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Related Subjects:

Religion & devotion  >  Church History & Missions