The artist’s colophon at the very end of the manuscript states explicitly ‘I, Joseph Ibn Hayyim, illuminated and completed this book.’ His artistic nature is dramatically expressed even in his colophon, which is spread flamboyantly over an entire page. Each letter is painted as a different zoomorphic or anthropomorphic creature, demonstrating his sense of colour and decoration. Joseph Ibn Hayyim, was intimately acquainted with another manuscript, the Cervera Bible and used it as a model for many of his illustrations. He did, however, also draw his inspiration from other models, transforming the decorative and illustrative material with great imagination.
His relations with the scribe, Moses Ibn Zabarah, were very close, for the scribe planned the layout and allotted the spaces for illumination. Joseph followed Moses’ guidance in this, but he had his own models for the subjects and motifs of his work. His ability to manipulate the sumptuous illumination within these narrow spaces is evidence of his experience and competence; only in the carpet pages and the Kimkhi arcades was the scribe guided by his lay-out.
Leaf size is approximately 320 x 262mm (12.5 x 10in)