Collection of Manuscripts

Stock: 1009 items
Last updated: July 2013

Old Russian manuscript works form a most important part of cultural heritage of Russia, of Slavonic peoples and of the whole world. The digital collection of manuscript materials is destined to open for readers a captivating world of Slavonic word stored at the funds of the Scientific and research department of manuscripts of the RSL. The collection demonstrates the process of development of Slavonic written language and culture. It also gives a bright insight on book — writing schools and workshops, on stages of development of the Church Slavonic language. Manuscript Collection includes over a thousand of works dated by 10—18th centuries. Researches will also be glad to find digitized lists of funds of the Scientific and research department of manuscripts of the RSL.

At present the digital collection of manuscript materials can boast of:

  • Earliest manuscript books of 10—12th centuries (Old Slavonic, Old Russian, Old Bulgarian);
  • Manuscript books on parchment and bombicina (kind of paper) of 12—14th centuries;
  • Books of Holy Writ and chronographic writings in records of 14—16th centuries. These works were basic sources of historic, theological and philosophic knowledge for people of Old Russia.
  • Pieces of hagiography of 13—17th centuries, including lives of saints, Lives of the Fathers, prologues, etc.;
  • Books of 13—17th centuries for public and personal divine services. An important place among them is occupied by mineas. A considerable number of these books contain early hook or later square lined notation.
  • Teaching and ascetic literature in records of late 12—17th centuries of writings by fathers and teachers of church (Ephraim Syrian, Ioann Damaskin, Ioann Zlatoust, Vassily Velikiy, Ioann Lestvichnik, Grigory Bogoslov, etc.).




Highlights of the collection

Buslaev Psalter. 1470—1490

The manuscript book was named after its first researcher, the well-known historian, art critic and great connoisseur of manuscripts Fedor Ivanovich Buslaev. The main part of Buslaev Psalter was written in the period of 1485 and 1490. As the researchers believe, the combination of the two parts of manuscript happened around 1506. The manuscript is exceptional in terms of decorative design: none of the subsequent works have such splendor of imagination, sophistication of ornament and intricacy of script letters. Psalms are decorated with colorful headpieces and initials, remarkable by its beauty and diversity of ornament types: in the text of Psalms the initials on the margins of pages form the unusual floral composition of the finest herbs and leaves, painted in cold pale shades of green and cinnabar. Having repeatedly inspired the researchers, this manuscript «continues to remain a monument mysterious and solely unique», noted G.V.Popov, Doctor in History of Arts. Recently, the researcher M.A.Orlova managed to discover the nearest analogies to floral motifs on the margins of the manuscript: there were found similarities in some of the mosaic and fresco cycles of Constantinopolitan monuments, in the decorations of 1428 in the Church of Holy Mother Odigitria in Mistra and in the frescoes of the last quarter of XV century in the Church of Simeon the Righteous at Novgorod Zverin Convent.