Ibn Ḥayyim, Joseph

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IBN ḤAYYIM, JOSEPH (second half of 15th century), manuscript illuminator. Joseph probably belonged to the same family as Abraham *Ibn Ḥayyim. The only work known by him is the illumination of the famous Kennicott Bible (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Kennicott 1) completed by the scribe Moses ben Jacob ibn Zabara at Corunna in Galicia (Spain) in 1482. This is one of the most lavishly and expertly illuminated of all medieval Hebrew manuscripts. Over one-quarter of the approximately 900 pages of the volume have some decoration, and there are 77 fully illuminated pages. The author shows a remarkable versatility and vivacity of imagination. The vast majority of the illuminations however are decorative, there being very few representations of the human figure, in accordance with the prevailing tradition of the Hispano-Jewish school of illumination. Some archaistic tendencies in the work are due to the fact that the illuminator had as his model a Hebrew Bible illuminated at Cervera in Spain in 1299–1300 by Joseph Ẓarefati (now in the National Library of Lisbon), which at the time was in the possession of a family domiciled in Corunna.


C. Roth, Gleanings (1967), 298–319; Wishnitzer, in: rej, 73 (1921), 161–72.

[Cecil Roth]

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Ibn Ḥayyim, Joseph

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