[Second half of 19th cent.] 200 leaves. 36x24 cm. Manuscript. The title page
and frontispiece is decorated in gold, blue and green colors. Every chapter starts with
illuminated headpiece and initial. Contemporary red morocco with raised bands and
gilt and blind stamping. The covers are slightly deformed. Otherwise very good.
This book is an interesting example of Old Believers manuscript tradition. The
conservative movement of Russian Orthodox Church, Old Believers were not allowed
to print their books in Russia until 1905. As a result of this supression the manuscripts
were used. The style was originally taken from pre-16th century examples, but by 18th
century it developed to be an independent genre.
Old Believers also carried on the tradition of unison singing that died out in
mainstream Orthodox Church and is known as ‘kryukovoe penie’ (i.e. Znamenny chant).
Choral manuscripts were among the most ornamental ones. This particular one is
originating from the manuscript school called ‘Guslitsy’. It was probably created in
Moscow area in late 19th century for the use in Old Believers’ service.