The 2022 Christmas Series is based on


'from earth's vast divergence and wealth

Our joys for living,

pure beauty!

and good health.'

Several accompanying 'historic illustrations' this series are extraordinary,

and merit larger views and additional information.

These will be depicted and described below,

as the sequential catalogs are published.




Hildegard von Bingen (German, 1098-1179)

Hildegard von Bingen was a German female artist, born September 16, 1098,

and contributing to the Medieval movement until her death, September 17, 1179.

Von Bingen's above c1230 medieval gold leaf painting

introduces Part I, Vision 4, of the "Book of Divine Work, : Cosmos".

This was her final visionary writing.

Hildegard completed the first copy of the "Book of Divine Work", or "Divinorum Operum", around 1173.

This illumination is from a 13th century Italian copy, known as the "Lucca Biblioteca Statale".

Hildegard von Bingen saw many visions during her life :

sights, sounds, tastes and smells which she believed to be messages from God.

She called these visions "the shades of the living light" keeping them to herself, until age 42,

when she received a "more pointed message" to write them down.

"And again I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, 'Cry out therefore, and write thus!"

In 'Scivias', her first volume of mystic theology,

von Bingen describes her reluctance to share her gift,

which she did, through illness, in a period of about 10 years.

For more information, and illuminations of Hildegard von Bingen

and the extraordinary 'Book of Divine Works',

click the link below :


(Image : Creative Commons)



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c1490, Bohmemia


The Kutná Hora parchment illumination, presumably the frontispiece for a large church choral book,

depicts the entire silver mining and minting process of 15th century Bohemia.

Apparently cut from the hymnal, it has been lost to the public until only several years ago.

This large and complex and 'rather overwhelming' illumination depicts the entire mining process of ore,

with its excavation, its milling, washing, and subsequent sale to ore merchants,

as well as further processing and smelting to produce silver.

This silver was then used to mint coins which were circulated throughout medieval Europe.


The painter has been identified as Karel Chytil, an illuminator residing in Prague's Old Town

(between April 30, 1495 and January 11, 1496).

The depiction is unique not only in subject matter and artistic quality, but also in its unusually large format.

Additionally, the detail is so specific to be believed executed from direct observations and sketches taken deep within the mines.

This is most unusual for the medieval world of art.

The illumination is also the oldest surviving illustration to capture the entire technological process

centerded in Kutná Hora from the 13th to the 17th century


Composed specific narrative sections, here is a brief description the manuscript by general location

(for those interested):

The Right Side, The Mining :
The mountain of Kuttenberg, in dark blue stone, stretches up the right side of the illumination, enclosing several scenes.

The middle sections depicts miners digging ore deep the mine - some wearing flat burgundy hats,

and others white shifts with pointed hoods, each with a small Roman lamp.

One is shown disappearing up a ladder, two others lifting ore with a winch.

Above that, another miner emerges up a ladder, handing a tally to a bearded man.

And above that, a woman at a table hands a miner a small pouch.

The Left Side, The Processing :
The left side depicts the ore processing. Toward the middle, a richly dressed man, perhaps the overseer

with a feather in his hat and a holding a whip rides a black horse past in inspection.

Immediately above him, is a large industrial horse-drawn wheel crushes the ore and a stream for washing the ore.

This is overseen by two men who ascertain that the pieces are of an even size, and others panning the ore to remove dirt,

and others washing baskets of ore, which are then carried by wheelbarrow to two furnaces in a structure to the left for smelting.

The Bottom, Coin Production :
The bottom section depicts the coin production, the now refined silver being turned into coins in stone buildings.

On the right, the silver is heated, 'quenched', and cut into 'flans' by skilled workers wearing turban-like hats.

On the left these flans are weighed by women wearing the same hats, before the flans are struck with an insignia

by men seated on thin benches covered in rawhide skins.

In the center, richly dressed officials weigh the silver and take records, as a steward with keys

and two guards stand before them.

In the courtyard outside workers count coins, a man moves two barrels and two dogs fight.

The Upper Section, Auction :
In the upper section a large building (the 'auction house') on which flies two red triangular banners,

each with crowned 'W' in liquid gold (the royal insignia of King Ladislaus Jagiellon, 1456-1516,

the successor Mattius Corvinus as king of Hungary).

A number of men sit around a circular table dressed variously, a

nd are being shown silver dust and newly minted coins by mine workers in white uniforms.

A man with long blond hair and brown hat stands behind a raised rostrum in the back of the room,

an open book before him and a stick in his hand, either a recording official or perhaps an auctioneer.

In the middle left foreground one of the buyers pours a tray of samples into a sack held out by his servant - perhaps stealing them.

In the lower right corner of the auction house, out of sight of the buyers,

a man in a blue tunic passionately clasps a woman in a green dress, keeping an eye into the room lest they are caught.


The Kutná Hora Illumination is deposited in the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region (GASK)

and is on display on special occasions.

For a further enlargement of the Kutná Hora Illumination,

see the wikipedic linkbelow; click twice for full enlargement :




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Comimg November & December


'From The Earth'

'From The Sands'

'From The Human Spirit'




Millicent Creech



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Christmas, 2022, "Transformations" : Illustration Index ; M. Ford Creech Antiques