Tanned calf over wooden boards, c. 1480

John Chrysostom (d. 407)
Dialogi de dignitate sacerdotii
[Cologne: Ulrich Zel, not after 1472]

Contextual evidence provides a link to the precise location where this striking binding was executed. The book was signed by a canon at the Premonstratensian monastery at Schussenried in southern Germany, and the binding contains fragments from two hand-written documents relating to the monastery, dated 1431 and 1437. If this is a monastic binding it is unusually elaborate, perhaps suggesting an external commission. The tools are associated with a workshop which flourished in southern Germany between 1457 and 1490, named after the characteristic triangular deer tool present on this example. The differing decoration between front and rear covers is a characteristically German binding trait.


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