Carpet page. The Book of Kells. Trinity College, Dublin. ca. 800 AD.
Carpet pages are one of the distinctive characteristics of Insular illuminated manuscripts. The Book of Kells has one surviving example [above]. Traditionally placed at the beginning of each Gospel, these designs feature vibrant color and complex geometric patterns. Their primary inspiration is the oriental carpets from the period, hence the name 'carpet page'. The earliest surviving example is the Bobbio Orosius which dates from the 7th Century.