Girdle Book Calendar (March - December only)

Northeastern Spanish or Southwestern French
Medieval (Gothic)
about 1300–50

Place of Manufacture: Southwestern France; Place of Manufacture: Northeastern Spain


Overall (open page dimensions): 6 x 4.5 cm (2 3/8 x 1 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ink on parchment, silver handle with six carnelian beads

Not On View





A girdle book calendar consisting of ten single leaves sewn together at lower margin, attached to silver holder with six carnelian beads. Typical liturgical calendar format, having 28 to 31 text lines (one month per recto), in Latin.

Written in a Current Gothic bookhand in brown ink with red rubrics, with astrological entries also in red. “KL”s in solid red. Each month begins with 1 - 3 prefacatory lines, alternating red and brown. Line one is astronomical, line 2 is the Egyptian Day verse [referring to the “Egyptian” days in some months, based on the ancient Egyptian calendar], and line 3 is the number of solar and lunar days. Egyptian days described in the verses are usually indicated in the calendar itself, along with astrological comments and solstices.

Egyptian Day verses:
(The months of January and February and the verse for December are lacking in the present manuscript)
Mars in primam finalis Quarta secundam
In decimo prima est undeno undeciam [ ] Aprilis
Tertius in maio sextam pede septima denam
In decimo sextam iunius quindenaque quartam
Tridecimo undenam iulius pede denus eandem
Augusti primam est per septem sive secundam
Tertia septembris pars le[ ] pede quartam
Tertius octobris quintam decimam pede nonam
Octavia quintam novembris pede tertiam quintam

The calendar includes many Northern Spanish and Southern French saints: of note are Emetherus and Celedonius (3 March), Prudentius, Bishop of Tarazona, Aragon (28 April), Isidor of Seville (4 April), Martialis, Bishop of Limousin (30 June), Salvus (10 September), Scisclus and Victoria (17 November) and Leocadia (9 December).


By 1909, Albert Figdor (b. 1843 - d. 1927), Vienna [see note 1]; June 14-15, 1932, Figdor and others sale, Gilhofer and Ranschburg, Lucerne, lot 599, sold for 180 fr. 1946, Blumka Gallery, New York; 1946, sold by Blumka to the MFA for $400. (Accession Date: June 13, 1946)

[1] See Ernst von Basserman-Jordan, Der Schmuck (Leipzig, Klinkhardt und Biermann, 1909), p. 88, fig. 100.

Credit Line

Helen and Alice Colburn Fund