Mainz Psalter at the Austrian National Library

Documentary heritage submitted by Austria and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2011.

© Austrian National Library
Mainz Psalter

With regard to its impact on the development of book printing, the Mainz Psalter comes a close second to the Gutenberg Bible as it is the earliest document of a printed text featuring multicoloured printed decoration, and the first example of a book produced entirely by means of mechanical methods. In the Psalter, Schöffer brought the technological and aesthetic possibilities of book production to perfection immediately after Gutenberg's printing of the Bible. Through a certain procedure that still cannot be traced back in all of its steps, Schöffer succeeded in incorporating two-coloured decorative letters printed from metal types into the text and the Mainz Psalter was the first book to pave the way for the production of elaborately decorated books exclusively made by mechanical methods. The Psalter's printed colophon, likewise a novelty, explicitly indicates the workshop and production method and was deliberately included by the workshop for it to obtain further commissions.

  • Year of submission: 2010
  • Year of inscription: 2011
  • Country: Austria
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