Aurora Consurgens (att: St. Thomas Aquinas or “Pseudo-Aquinas”)
f. 34v: Black Female Angel
Germany (c. 1420s)
Parchment Codex with Watercolor Miniatures, 20.4 x 13.9 cm.
This is one of those manuscript miniatures that is so beautiful and strange, it’s hard to believe it’s really as old as it is. Aurora Consurgens is an alchemical treatise; a commentary on the Latin translation of Silvery Waters by Muhammed ibn Umail at-Tamîmî (Senior Zadith), attributed first to Saint Thomas Aquinas and later attributed to “Pseudo-Aquinas”.
The miniatures are unusual not only for their quality, but also for the fact that they’re tiny watercolor paintings on the parchment codex. The whole text has been digitized here, and you can read like you were holding it:
The link has a photo with flash in which you can see the gilded portions a bit better, as well as the ability to zoom in to see the details. For those who were curious, inside the Angel’s body is a sheathed dagger and a coiled serpent: