Calligraphy and Illumination
Everyone knows what calligraphy is, but what about illumination? Illumination, put simply, is the painting and decoration that accompanies calligraphy in medieval books. You may well think that the reflection from the gold leaf in such books would lead to the name, but the word actually comes from "limner", which is what we call an artist who paints the little scenes in these books.
In Medieval times all books were completely decorated by hand, hand written, and hand made. They had many different purposes - bibles, "books of hours" for wealthy patrons, poetry, music, records, education, and general literature.
The dilemma we face here in the SCA is in wanting to create stunning works of art, knowing that these "pages" we copy from are from inside medieval books, and not for hanging on a wall. However, there are examples of contracts, certificates and other documents in period which more adequately fulfill our desire for historical accuracy - but in comparison to these manuscripts they can be very dull indeed.