The Metropolitan Museum of Art last week acquired a rare Hebrew Bible from medieval Spain that was scheduled for auction at Sotheby’s.
The illuminated Bible, from the collection of Jaqui E. Safra, was bought by a private collector for an estimated $3.5-$5 million, joining the museum’s growing collection of recent Judaica acquisitions, including a 15th-century handwritten copy of Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah and a pair of 18th-century Italian silver finials.
The 14th-century Bible is the earliest known complete one from Spain ever to be auctioned.
“We are thrilled to add this treasure of Jewish artistic heritage to The Met’s growing collection of important Judaica,” said the Met’s president, Daniel Weiss.
The museum called the Bible “an exceptionally important exemplar of medieval book arts and literary culture. The high quality of its parchment, the generous quantity of its carpet pages, and the lavishness of their design, as well as the formal repertoire of the micrographic decoration, make this volume an exceptional witness to the glorious tradition of medieval Hebrew manuscript illumination.”
The Met did not announce when the Bible will go on exhibit.