The main decoration was carried out by two hands, the Scribe and the Artist, following the writing of the text, and appears in the first six quires at important divisions. The decoration consists of filigree panels enclosing the initial words. Out of the 11 initial word panels those in the first three quires (fols. 1, 4, 7, 12v, 20v) were decorated by the Scribe. His panels are filled with filigree penwork forming a background to the letters in a unified dense composition. By contrast, the other panels by the Artist (fols. 16v, 25v, 34v, 39, 46v, 47) frame the letters with filigree penwork, leaving the initial words on the parchment ground.
Both filigree compositions show a fan-shaped club motif and scroll design, but they differ in style. That by the Scribe, despite its density, is delicately and precisely executed, integrating human and animal heads within the main fields and in the marginal flourishes. The filigree design by the Artist is somewhat simpler and stiffer. The undulating scrolls are replaced by straight and angular stalks (e.g. fol. 39), and the use of alternating deep blue and red colours divides the panels into compartments (e.g. fols. 46v, 47); only a few figures are integrated in the marginal flourishes.
The fan-shaped filigree type is an early phase of filigree decoration, originating in an area under strong French influence. For example, the filigree design appears in the Paris Pentateuch (BnF hébreu 36; Sed-Rajna 1986/87, fig. 1) written in 1306 inPoligny in the Duchy of Burgundy. A later phase of filigree scroll- work consisting of a spiral pattern occupies the filigree panels of the Ashkenazi manuscripts produced during the years 1330-40 in the Upper Rhine region, for example the Vienna-Jerusalem Mahzor (ÖNB cod. hebr. 163 - NLI Heb. 8°5214), the Vienna SeMag (ÖNB cod. hebr. 34/I-II) and the Cambridge Hagiographa (CUL MS Ee 5.9) (op.cit., figs. 2-6).
It is interesting to note that the fan-shaped filigree design appears in several Hebrew manuscripts from Spain and Provence from the mid-fourteenth century on, for example in the Spanish or Provençal Maimonides of 1340-60 (BnF hébreu 689; Garel 1991, No. 28), the King's Bible of Solsona, 1384 (BL King's 1; Narkiss 1982, No. 22, figs. 333-4), or the Catalan Haggadah of Cambridge, c.1400 (CUL Add. 1203; op.cit., No. 18, figs. 308-9).
The late phase of this type of filigree is highly stylised and is found in manuscripts from the end of the 15th century, for example the Portuguese Lisbon Maimonides, 1471-72 (BL, Harley 5698-9; op.cit., No. 41, figs. 395-402). However, the decoration of the Munich Ibn Rushd is closer to the middle phase, and is similar to the London Spanish Mahzor of the early fifteenth century (BL, Or. 5600; op.cit., No. 39,
הקשבFor some unknown reason the decoration of theMunichmanuscript was never completed. The sections of the second and third books were not decorated although space has been allocated for it.
The manuscript belonged to the orientalist Johan Albrecht Widmanstetter (1506-1557), and was acquired by Duke Albrecht V in 1558, together with his library.
Text space: (155-160) x (95-100) mm.
Off-white pigskin on cardboard (cf. 114) (248 x 188 mm) by Heinrich Peisenberg, c.1577 (cf. Geldner 1958, pl. LXIV, fig. 85; Haebler 1929, II:64, 268). The front cover is blind-tooled with Ivstitia in the centre holding tipped scales in her left hand and a sword in her right. She stands beneath an arch with two columns, inscribed: Diligite iustitiam qui iudicatis terram Sap. I.
Below her: Aequa Gerit Rectam Liberat Quae Pondere Lancem/Iustitia Immota Firma Tenaxque Manu. The back cover is blind-tooled with the arms of Duke Albrecht V with the initials: SDN QCN (Si Deus Nobis Quis Contra Nos). These centre-pieces on both covers are surrounded by two frames: the inner with alternating unidentified profiles inscribed: MIR, ALE, IOH, ION; the outer one has foliate chains and alternating portraits of St. Paul with a book and sword, inscribed: Apparvit benig(nitas) (Tit. 3:4); John the Baptist with an open book, inscribed Ecce Agnus De(i) (John 1:29); Christ holding an orb with a cross, inscribed Data est mihi om(nis) (Matthew 28:18); and David with a harp, inscribed De fructu ventri(s) (Psalm 132:11; Vulgate 131:11).
The spine has three double cords and head and tail bands.
For a similar binding see Cod.hebr. 114 (CJA Documentation).
The decoration consists of filigree initial word panels which appear in the first six quires of the manuscript, i.e. the first book (fols. 1-46v) and the first folio of the second (fol. 47). It was done by two hands: the Scribe decorated the first three quires (fols. 1-23), and the Artist continued with the following three (fols. 24-47, also decorating fol.16v).
- By the Scribe: panels decorated with scrolls of red and blue filigree penwork enclosing titles (fol. 1), initial word (fol. 1), chapter headings (fols. 4, 7, 12v, 20v). By the Artist: title (fol. 47), words within the text (fol. 16v), chapter headings (25v, 34v, 39), an explicit for the first book and an incipit for the second (fol. 46v). Some panels by both Scribe and Artist include human and animal figures (fols. 4, 12v, 20v, 25v, 34v).
- By the Scribe: three geometrical diagrams (fols. 87v, 89, 89v) showing shifting relations between a light source (המאיר; fol. 87v), a viewpoint (נקודת הראות; fol. 89v), and a rainbow (קשת הענן; fol. 89), the intersections marked by Hebrew letters.
- A later hand, which adds annotations, also adds small penwork drawings (e.g. fol. 28 – a pointing hand and the connecting 'pillar' between the two sections of filigree on fol. 46v).