The 66 codices presented here, count among the greatest cultural and artistic achievements of mediaeval book illumination between 780 and 1180.
Codices are bound manuscripts written in those days without exception onto parchment. The objects selected from the collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg are the earliest and most valuable testimonials of German book illumination with a chronological range from the Carolingian to the Ottonian period up to Romanesque art. Because of their particular fragility and of their high value, these works almost never leave the vaults. On bavarikon, it is possible to study digital copies in high resolution up to the closest detail.
The oldest manuscript was created back in the days of the last Bavarian Agilolfing duke, Tassilo III (duke 749–787). During the Middle Ages the centres of writing were the chanceries of the rulers and the monasteries. The Carolingian codices from Salzburg, Tegernsee and Freising attest to the high Quality of the artistic production of the ninth century. The splendid volumes of the Ottonian period (around 919 to 1024) form a unique focus world-wide within the rich holdings of manuscripts at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.
Secular and ecclesiastical princes commissioned the best scriptoria and centres of illuminations with the production of liturgical manuscripts. Such gospel books, lectionaries and sacramentaries were richly illuminated with bright colours and gold. Their exquisitely manufactured bindings are made even more magnificent by added ivory reliefs and gems.
The most high-ranking manuscripts from the collection Splendour on Parchment were exhibited at the 2012 show of the same name which took place very successfully at the Kunsthalle (art gallery) of the Hypo-Kulturstiftung (Hypo Cultural Foundation).