Had to be really

The intricate illumination of medieval monasteries was traditionally thought to be the work of monks.

But blue pigment found in the dental plaque of an 11th century nun suggests that women were also the artists behind some of Europe’s most precious books.

Scientists discovered tiny traces of ultramarine paint trapped in the teeth of a female skeleton buried within the grounds of a monastery at Dalheim, in Germany.

The pigment is made from the precious stone lapis lazuli, which was only mined in Afghanistan in the medieval period. It was more expensive than fold so only the most skilled and trusted scribes and painters were allowed to use the material.

Muphry’s Law. A piece about medieval copyists contains a typo.

20 comments on “Had to be really

  1. Typos aside it sounds like more femmi-bullshit. In her teeth? So she dipped the head of an inked quill pen in her gob? Or dined on her own pigments? Check her finger bones–see if any paint has seeped thro’ there before shouting about femmi-triumph.

  2. What amazes me is that some nerd out there gets off on checking out crud stuck to teeth on 11th century nuns.

    And does rule 34 apply to this?

  3. She wouldn’t have been using a quill pen for illustrating manuscripts. That was done with a brush. And licking the tip to get a point would be a way of geting pigment into the mouth. It was how watch face painters contracted radiation poisoning from radium based luminous paint.
    But lapis lazuli also appears on apothocaries’ lists of efficacious substances. Pretty well anything rare & expesive has, at one time or another. So it may have been given as a cure for some ailment. One presumes not a effective one..

  4. “The intricate illumination of medieval monasteries was traditionally thought to be the work of monks.”

    Was it? Who thought this? I expect most work done in a monastery was by men and in a nunnery was by women.

    But who cares?

    Femi-Nazis lurch from “women were repressed in the past” to “women had a significant role in the past” all the time.

  5. Andrew C – Femi-Nazis lurch from “women were repressed in the past” to “women had a significant role in the past” all the time

    The unconventional wokeness of… the medieval Catholic Church?

    Still more believable than that recent film about how – actually, bigots – the real masterminds of the Apollo moon landings were three black women.

  6. BiG,

    What amazes me is that some nerd out there gets off on checking out crud stuck to teeth on 11th century nuns.

    Nothing surprises me any more. Haven’t you heard of the doorbell licker?

  7. Talking about typos – check out murph’s latest accounts!
    (Waiting to see if he posts my helpful corrections)

  8. Maybe she was in an early version of the Blue Man Band.
    Known as The Blue Nuns.
    Did they find any drums nearby ?

  9. ‘the precious stone lapis lazuli’

    More ignorance. Lapis is not a precious stone. It is a semi precious stone.

  10. To which typo are you referring? the one saying “monasteries” for “manuscripts” of the “fold” for “gold”
    It may have a been a convent at Dalheim (unless a nearby convent lacked a burial ground of its own).

    Anyhow who thought that only monks copied manuscripts? Anyone with a grain of sense would realise that the literate nuns were perfectly capable of copying and would need to do so lest their only copy of some text wore out.
    This is a straw man argument

  11. Whitby Abbey was overseen by St. Hilda, and was known as a centre of learning, and in the 600s you couldn’t be a centre of learning without copying manuscripts, and St. Hilda was a woman of the female gender.

  12. Richard,
    Rather like “the heroic untold story of…” so beloved of the BBC and their ilk.
    The “untold story” isn’t untold at all because it’s been retold repeatedly in all media for the last decade or two – most recently last week.
    It’s usually about a very rare example of a woman or effnic doing something in the past. That “something” was routinely done by white men day in, day out but if done by someone else it suddenly becomes “heroic”.

  13. Like the recent dramatisation about Einstein, as the wife commented before giving up maybe they should have renamed it Einstein’s Wife

  14. and St. Hilda was a woman of the female gender.

    How dare you force your antiquated gender definitions on the people from antiquity! That’s temporal privilege as they can’t defend themselves due to their involuntary incorporeality.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.