Manuscripts from the Walters Art Museum

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The mission of the Walters Art Museum is to bring art and people together for enjoyment, discovery, and learning. In support of this mission, the Walters was an early adopter of open access to its collection and remains committed to finding innovative ways to share collection information. This is especially impactful for the Walters’ collection of fragile and light-sensitive manuscripts that can only be on view one opening at a time. The Walters began digitization in 2008 and has since digitized more than half of its collection of about 900 manuscripts. These high-resolution images, along with full cataloging information, are available online for free under a Creative Commons Zero license. The foundation of this digitization initiative is the Digital Walters, the museum’s archival repository of digital manuscripts. From its inception, the Digital Walters continues to support the creation of new research tools, and serves as a resource for users everywhere, for any purpose. The Walters is continually searching for ways to activate the collection and in 2016 created Walters Ex Libris, a visually engaging website with explorative tools that allow users to interact with and search the manuscript collection in complex ways. As we investigate new ways of making these materials even more accessible, useful, and relevant, the Walters is pleased to introduce this transcription project as an exciting opportunity to build on our history of open-access initiatives.

We invite you to collaborate with us using this exciting platform. To inspire you, we have chosen a few manuscripts and suggested ways to explore them. You can request that any book currently available on Walters Ex Libris be added to the transcription project. Please send all requests and questions to mss-curator@thewalters.org.

  • Books of Hours with rubrics in vernacular: French (W.719), French and Flemish (W.95), Dutch (W.185)
  • Spanish language texts: e.g., Patent of Nobility (W.504), Genealogical Treatise (W.736)
  • Islamic science: e.g., Book on Horses (W.661), Book on Navigation (W.658), Turkish Wonders of Creation (W.659)
  • Islamic calligraphy (e.g., W.672)
  • Texts compared across different times, places, and scripts, e.g., Psalters W.10, W.26, W.29, W.111, W.198
  • Humanist texts in Latin (W.393), Italian (W.404), Greek (W.354)
  • Church Slavonic texts by Russian Old Believers (e.g., W.916 and W.917)
  • Walters Ms. W.199, Gossouin of Metz, Image du Monde

    Walters Ms. W.199, Gossouin of Metz, Image du Monde

    This manuscript, which is dated in a colophon to 1489, is one of the three known fifteenth-century copies of a rare vernacular cosmography originally composed in verse under the title "Image du Monde" (The Mirror of the World) in Lorraine dialect ca. 1245-46. The manuscript provides descriptions...

    293 pages: 9% indexed, 9% translated, 31% needs review
    Walters Ms. W.675, Single leaf from the Arabic version of Dioscorides' De materia medica

    Walters Ms. W.675, Single leaf from the Arabic version of Dioscorides' De materia medica

    This is a single leaf from a dispersed manuscript (Aya Sofya 3703, later Top Kapi Seray 2147) of the Arabic version of De materia medica by Dioscorides (fl. ca. 65 CE) that was copied in 621 AH / 1224 CE in Baghdad. Approximately thirty illustrations were removed from this parent manuscript that...

    2 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
    Walters Ms. W.750, Four leaves from the Arabic version of Dioscorides' De materia medica

    Walters Ms. W.750, Four leaves from the Arabic version of Dioscorides' De materia medica

    These are four consecutive leaves (numbered fols. 237-241) from an illustrated manuscript of the Arabic version of De materia medica by Dioscorides, copied in the seventh century AH / thirteenth CE in Iran. Pedanius Dioscorides wrote his treatise on medicinal plants in the first century CE. It...

    8 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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