Prague entertainments in the 16th century: Not just skittles but also a live elephant

Pages 113-116
Keywords British Library in London – documents of Czech origin – first volume of the manuscript gradual Písně chval božských – literary brotherhood choir at the Church of the Virgin Mary before Týn in Prague – Sixt of Ottersdorf (ca 1500–1583) –Shrovetide 1570 – elephant Emanuel – manuscript illumination
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2012/57/1-2

The British Library in London has in its collections a unique item of Czech origin - the first of the three volumes of a manuscript gradual called Písně chval božských (Songs of Divine Grace) (Add. 16175). It was made in Prague in the years 1570–1578 on behalf of the utraquist chancellor of the Old City of Prague, Sixt of Ottersdorf, for the use of the literary brotherhood choir at the Church of the Virgin Mary before Týn. It contains an interesting illumination of the elephant Emanuel, – an authentic testimony augmenting our understanding of entertainments and festivals in the Renaissance, pre-Rudolfian Prague.

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