Julia O'Brien blogs about seeing the exhibit of miniature books at Baltimore's Walters Art Museum.
There were small mosaics, small sculptures, small shipping guides, but mostly small religious texts. Small Psalters. Small Qurans. And small Bibles.
Some of these miniatures were functional, actually used by readers even before the days of bifocals. They allowed people to have words that were portable and private-- pocket editions.
But many were clearly too small to be read. It's hard to imagine how they were even produced. These texts weren't reading material; they functioned atropaically--as amulets , talismans, good luck pieces. These Bibles were owned, touched, tucked away, treasured. But not read. The idea of the Bible mattered more than its content.
Indeed! But the fact that more texts than just the Bible get subjected to such miniaturization shows that the iconic potential of books is not limited to scriptures, though they provide the most extreme examples.