Written and decorated in Catalonia (Spain), this unique mahzor was completed in approximately 1280. It comprises 154 folios (308 pages) size 195x155 mm and is written in clear Sefardi semi-cursive script. The Catalan Mahzor is profusely ornamented with 59 pages of intricate, ingenious micrographic panels depicting exquisite hunting scenes all in micrography.
Traditional decorative elements in manuscripts written in Spain, such as the Temple implements and menorah, are similarly executed in micrography in full page panels. Two headings and a full page colored illustration are written in gold against a background of purple and blue. The finials of the letter 'lamed' are in the form of foliage and birds. This manuscript is unique as micrographic decorations are generally not found in prayer books.
A Mahzor for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur according to the Catalonian Rite
The text includes liturgical hymns by Spanish Jewish poets. Most of the piyyutim conform to the rites of prayer that have been preserved by Jewish communities which originated in the city of Barcelona or the region of Catalonia; some of them conform to the rite prevalent in the Kingdom of Aragon before the unification of Spain, which at that time ruled Barcelona and Catalonia.
The Mahzor was donated to the National Library by Mr Ludwig Jesselson in 1986.
We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Catalan Micrography Mahzor":
- Catalan Mahzor (Paper Facsimile) facsimile edition published by Facsimile Editions Ltd., 2016
- Catalan Mahzor (Parchment Facsimile) facsimile edition published by Facsimile Editions Ltd., 2016