Brussels, KBR (Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België/Bibliothèque royale de Belgique), MS 9085

Dancing Book of Margaret of Austria Facsimile Edition

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The Booklet of the Dance was conceived around 1470 as an aid for dancers doing the "Basses Danses" so popular in Europe.

Music in Silver and Gold

After an impressive page showing several coats of arms, the Booklet commences with a brief theoretical section complete with 59 different dances. Each page bears a golden ruling on which the titles of the dances, together with texts, musical notes and step designations, are written in both gold and silver. Almost all the pages of the manuscript are ornate with initials. Their vigorous interlace leads us to the assumption that the manuscript constitutes a masterpiece of courtly art.

It is rightly assumed that this book once belonged to Mary of Burgundy, the wife of Emperor Maximilian I who left it to her daughter Margaret, the future General Governor of the Low Countries. The book later passed into the hands of King Philip II of Spain and remained in the Burgundian library of the Habsburg dynasty until it was transferred to the Bibliothèque Royale.

A Rare Manuscript on Black Vellum

The "Basses Danses" owes its singularity not only to its musical contents and significance for the history of European culture, but also to its masterly execution of calligraphy in gold and silver and, last but not least, to its unusual writing material. The Booklet of the Dance of Margaret of Austria is one of only seven surviving manuscripts written on black tinted parchment. This jewel, unique in the history of book production, impressively displays the luxury of the Burgundian court.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Dancing Book of Margaret of Austria": Les basses danses de Marguerite d'Autriche (Tanzbüchlein der Margarete von Österreich) facsimile edition, published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1987

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Manuscript book description compiled by the publisher.
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Les basses danses de Marguerite d'Autriche (Tanzbüchlein der Margarete von Österreich)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1987

  • Commentary (German) by Thiry, Claude; Gavenda, Victor; Lemaire, Claudine
  • Limited Edition: 500 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Dancing Book of Margaret of Austria: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

Facsimile and commentary volume in book case.


Wooden covers and half leather.

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