Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
The word becomes art in this 1794 microgram on vellum that contains the entire text of the Song of Songs. Micrography, developed in the ninth century, is the art of using tiny Hebrew letters to form representational, geometric or abstract designs. On this document by Baruch ben Shemariah of Lithuania, the text begins with the word shir (song) in the center and wraps around and around in different shapes and patterns until it ends with the word besamim (spices) at the top in the second scallop to the right of the flower basket. The celebration of both love and commitment in the Song of Songs makes it a fitting example for marriage: This magnificent piece of micrography was probably commissioned as a wedding gift in honor of the bride and groom.