Block books at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek - Xylogr.

Unlike incunabula printed with movable metal letters, block books ("Xylogr." Xylography) are 15th century prints produced using the woodcut process. These are relatively small illustrated books, which represent a transitional form between the illuminated manuscript and the illustrated printed book.

Block books are among the rarest and therefore most valuable collection items in libraries. The block books kept in the BSB and Bavaria's collections were made digitally accessible as part of a project.

Only about 100 editions of 33 different works in about 600 copies can be found worldwide. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds a collection of 49 block books (including fragments) and is therefore one of the largest collections worldwide. Bavarian collections contain a total of about 90 block books, almost all of which have been digitised.

The top pieces include the work Chiromantia (Xylogr. 36), which bears the original title "Die Kunst Ciromantia" (The Art of Ciromantia), and deals with the art of palmistry, chiromancy, the Ars moriendi (Xylogr. 16), a work of edification literature concerned with Christian preparation for a good or salubrious death.

>> This collection is part of the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library).

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