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Glimpsing Madonna in a Sphinx: Carta Executoria 1532

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Some of the finest treasures in our rare book collection are still waiting for their moment in the spotlight.  Today we decided to share with you a glimpse of this beautiful illuminated manuscript on vellum. Created in 1532 during the Golden Age of Spain, the manuscript bears numerous hand-painted initials and colorful border designs.

Carta Executoria
The first page of the Carta Executoria, 1532. The Virgin Mary appears inside an initial letter D with a man’s face ringed by a lion’s mane at right.

The manuscript contains Carta Executoria contra villa de Herencia, issued in 1532, by the Audiencia, Court, or Cancillería (Chancery) of Toledo, in an action on a case of contentious tax exemption. The parties involved in the case were the prosecutor of the High Court Sancho de Lebrija of Granada and the Prosecutor of the Villa of Herencia, Alonso García of Veldad. (This post was coauthored by Donna Sokol and Nathan Dorn.)

Carta Executoria interior page
An interior page from the Carta Executoria, 1532. An initial P painted in gold-leaf within which a man brandishes a sword.
Evidence of a binding in charming decay.

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