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A: Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

The Earliest Image of Codices in a Book Cabinet and Possibly the Earliest Image of a Bookbinding in Wall Art

426 CE to 450 CE
Ravenna gallaplacidia03

The earliest image of books in a book case and the earliest imageof a bookcase in wall art.  Mosaics in the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, Ravenna.

A mosaic in the so-called Lunetta di San Lorenzo in the Byzantine Mausoleo di Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy, represents the earliest image of codices in a book cabinet or book press or armarium— specifically codices of each of the Four Gospels lying flat on book shelves with the edges of the book blocks rather than the edges of the spines facing outward. To the right of this cabinet, on the other side of the marble lunette, the mosaic depicts the standing evangelist holding a large cross in one hand and an open codex in a chemise binding in the other hand.  This may be the earliest image of a bookbinding in wall art.

Clark, The Care of Books (1901) 41.

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