Miniature (illuminated manuscript)  

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"IT is only comparatively recently that the illustrated manuscripts have been considered worth a detailed examination from the standpoint of iconography and the history of art; the history of miniature painting has unfortunately hitherto been very inadequately treated, and many a problem still awaits solution." --Iconografia Dantesca (1897) by Ludwig Volkmann

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The word miniature, derived from the Latin minium, red lead, is a picture in an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript; the simple decoration of the early codices having been miniated or delineated with that pigment. The generally small scale of the medieval pictures has led secondly to an etymological confusion of the term with minuteness and to its application to small paintings especially portrait miniatures, which did however grow from the same tradition and at least initially use similar techniques.

Apart from the Western and Byzantine traditions, there is another group of Asian traditions, which is generally more illustrative in nature, and from origins in manuscript book decoration also developed into single-sheet small paintings to be kept in albums, which are also called miniatures, as the Western equivalents in watercolor and other mediums are not. These include Persian miniatures, and their Mughal, Ottoman and other Indian offshoots.

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