Testeriano denotes catechism manuscripts in a pictographic script attributed to the Franciscan friar and missionary Jacobo de Testera (16th century). Writing had already developed in 12th century Central America as a mixture of ideograms, pictograms and phonetic symbols, but the original handwritten witnesses thereof were destroyed in the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century. In order to communicate with the indigenous population, Christian missionaries later adopted this writing system, but they invented many symbols since the goal was to communicate a new, Christian content. For instance, three crowned heads represent the Trinity and thus God, while two crowned heads with key and sword represent the apostles Peter and Paul. The manuscript is read from left to right across both pages; different parts are separated by decorative vertical vignettes. The manuscript contains several short prayers (among them pp. 1v-2r Persignum, 2v-4r Ave Maria, 4v-8r Credo) and a long prayer (pp. 27v-35r) which represents a repetition of the Christian doctrine.
Online Since: 06/25/2015
The Zurich armorial on parchment is one of the most important and most unusual documents of medieval heraldry. Today it consists of four parts of various lengths, which can be combined into one four-meter-long roll. Painted on both sides of the parchment, it depicts 559 coats of arms, each shield decorated with a crest, of high and lower nobility from Northern Switzerland, Southern Germany and Western Austria. Names are given next to each shield. In addition there are 28 flags of German bishoprics and monasteries. The order of these four remaining parts, which consist of thirteen parchment leaves that were sewn together, is as follows: Part I (36.5 cm) contains the coats of arms of the bishoprics and monasteries on the verso side (Merz-Hegi numbering: I-XXVIII; the numbering in the original is from the 16th/17th century) and 22 noble coats of arms on the recto side (1-22). Parts 2 and 3 (255.5 cm) were still sewn together in 1930. Part 2, consisting of four parchment leaves, contains the coats of arms 23-104 and 108-114 on the recto side and the coats of arms 214-220, 224-308 on the verso side. Part 3, consisting of three parchment leaves sewn together, contains the coats of arms 105-107, 115-162 on the recto side and the coats of arms 163-213, 221-223 on the verso side. Part 4 (109 cm), consisting of five parchment leaves sewn together, contains the coats of arms 309-378 on the recto side and the coats of arms 379-450 on the verso side. The armorial is incomplete. The missing fourth part should have contained another 109 coats of arms, which are known from a late 18th century copy of the roll. The armorial was probably created in Zurich or in the area of Lake Constance. It can be dated to the period between 1330 and 1345. The style of the workmanship is reminiscent of the famous Codex Manesse, a collection of poems in German with 137 miniatures, also created in Zurich, but somewhat older. The Zurich armorial was owned by Zürich historian and naturalist Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672–1733); later it became part of the collection of the Antiquarian Society of Zurich and then of the Swiss National Museum.
Online Since: 12/18/2014