Look at this lovely 15th century manicula!

Wednesday 21 December 2011
One of the many manicula of Archbishop William Scheves.

As I was working through one of Archbishop William Scheves’ collected volumes of incunabula, I came across one of his wonderful manicula (or fist, or index finger, or pointing hand). This volume is a collection of 15th century Netherlandish imprints, and this particular manicula was found in the margin of Saint Bernardino da Siena’s De duodecim periculis quae superveniunt peccatoribus in ultimo fine (Antwerp: Mathias van der Goes, ca. 1487-90). I love the detail and time that went into this lovely hand and sleeve!


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9 thoughts on "Look at this lovely 15th century manicula!"

  • Rachel Hart
    Rachel Hart
    Wednesday 21 December 2011, 1.42pm

    I love this book! It is the one I like to use as a representative rare book when I'm teaching - it has so many features to point out to students - the manicula, the annotations, Scheves's wonderful signature, the binding, the previous owner etc. etc.! So glad it's properly catalogued now, Daryl!

  • Karenmca
    Wednesday 21 December 2011, 2.14pm

    Good grief, 3 years of my life on mediaeval music mss, 30 years ago, and nobody told me that's what the pointing hand was called! Thank you!

    • St Andrews Rare Books
      St Andrews Rare Books
      Wednesday 21 December 2011, 2.20pm

      Hi Karen, Bill Sherman wrote a great book a few years back on marginalia and book use (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Used-Books-Marking-Renaissance-Material/dp/0812220846/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324473546&sr=8-1) where the term was used throughout, although professionally I still think no one can agree on just what to call pointy hands!

  • bibliotranstornado
    Wednesday 21 December 2011, 11.42pm

    I have seen a few hands like this (okey, not so beautiful...) and I did't knew it's name: 'manicula'. Thanks!

  • Christine Gascoigne
    Christine Gascoigne
    Wednesday 11 January 2012, 3.36pm

    Wiliam Fouler's in Werner von Rolewinck are pretty good too ...

  • James Brown
    James Brown
    Wednesday 22 February 2012, 7.33pm

    Thank you for pointing out one of "Scheves' sleeves"!

  • “Listen to me, listen to me!” « Skuggsjá
    Friday 14 September 2012, 11.01pm

    [...] or a call for attention, and is often used as an index mark (a so called manicula – see this excellent example) to bring the readers attention to a certain part of a text in a [...]

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    Friday 13 March 2015, 11.32am

    […] 2 – St Andrews, University Library, Typ NL A85 JT (Antwerp, 1487-1490) – Source Fig. 3 – Oxford, Bodleian Library, Add. A 15 (15th century) – […]

  • making time for writing: advice that didn’t work | some kind of navigation
    Sunday 9 August 2015, 2.32pm

    […] possible. In this class, I fell deeply in love with what would become my personal scholarship: manicula and marginalia. Magically—and because of my own personal devotion to her work, scholarship, and […]


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