Leaf Excised from a Psalter: The Nativity, c. 1260. Flanders, Liège(?), 13th century. Tempera and burnished gold on vellum; sheet: 12.5 x 8.6 cm (4 15/16 x 3 3/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1953.145.5
Traditional locations within manuscript psalters were designated by decorated initials or, as is the case here, full-page miniatures. These locations marked the major divisions of the psalms as used in the daily office. The extraordinary quality of these miniatures suggests they once decorated a deluxe psalter made for a wealthy or aristocratic patron, possibly a cleric.