Manuscripts with predominantly illustrations

Codices iconographici – Cod.icon.

The term Codices iconographici refers to "illuminated manuscripts with no text or merely explanatory text". This manuscript collection group was started by Johann Andreas Schmeller in the 19th century and described in a handwritten repertory. This catalogue was continued up to 2002 by adding new acquisitions. Since then, it has been continued in the form of the database CodIcon Online.

The collection currently includes around 1,800 objects created between the 15th and the 20th century – including a large number of hand-drawn maps (Cod.icon. 180). The codices, scrolls and individual sheets contain subject-related illustrations from the fields of botany, zoology, geography, architecture, machines and munitions, costumes, heraldry and various other subjects. Partly, they are not aesthetically sophisticated, partly they are sumptuously impressive.

Outstanding pieces

From the fields of genealogy, heraldry and court context

  • Livre du toison d'or containing 269 family coats of arms of the members of the Order of the Golden Fleece  (Cod.icon. 285)
  • Book of coats of arms of German families by Nikolaus Bertschi († 1542)  (Cod.icon. 308)
  • Tournament book by Hans Burgkmair the Younger, based on models of his father from Augsburg, assignable to the context of memorial politics of Emperor Maximilian I  (Cod.icon. 403).
  • De arte athletica: Compendium on the art of fencing by Paul Hektor Mair (1517 – 1579), around 1550, from Augsburg  (Cod.icon. 393(1 and 393(2)
  • Book of gems of Duchess Anna of Bavaria, drawn by Hans Mielich (1516 – 1573)  (Cod.icon. 429)
  • Millennial genealogical tree of Palatine Wittelsbach  (Cod.icon. 388)
  • Fencing book by Hans Thalhofer from the year 1467  (Cod.icon. 394 a)

From the field of geography

  • Terrestrial globe (1576) of the great Bavarian geographer Philipp Apian (1531 – 1589) (Cod.icon. 129), which, together with the associated celestial globe (Cod.icon. 186) of the Jesuit Heinrich Arboreus, formed part of the court library's first equipment items. Both globes are on permanent display in the rooms of the department.
  • Several important Portolan charts, i.e. medieval nautical maps drawn or painted on parchment  (in particular Cod.icon. 130 – 133 and 136)
    For further information please consult the map collection.
  • Preparatory drawings by Philipp Apian for the first map of Bavaria of 1563 that was based on a land survey of extraordinary exactness of mathematical-astronomical determination of longitude and latitude  (Cod.icon. 142)
  • Topographic views of Regensburg by Georg Sigmund Rentz, 1640  (Cod.icon 198)

From the fields of botany and zoography

  • Botanic books by Georg Dionys Ehret (1710 – 1770)  (Cod.icon. 2)
  • Collection of representations of European birds by Johann Christian Mannlich (1741 – 1822)  (Cod.icon. 88)

Livre du toison d'or  (Cod.icon. 285)
Paul Hector Mair: De arte athletica (Volume 1) and (Volume 2)  (Cod.icon. 393(1 and Cod.icon. 393(2)
Terrestrial globe of Philipp Apian  (Cod.icon. 129)
Celestial globe of Heinrich Arboreus  (Cod.icon. 186)
Portulan  (Cod.icon. 131)
Fernando Vaz Dourado: Portulan atlas  (Cod.icon. 137)
Nikolaus Bertschi: Book of coats of arms, particularly of German families  (Cod.icon. 308)
Hans Burgkmair: Tournament book  (Cod.icon. 403)
Book of gems of Duchess Anna of Bavaria  (Cod.icon. 429)
Hans Thalhofer: Fencing book of 1467  (Cod.icon. 394 a)
Sebastiano Serlio: Sesto libro d'architettura  (Cod.icon. 189)

From the perspective of art history, there are important works in particular by Hans Mielich, Hans Burgkmair the Elder, Sebastiano Serlio, Joachim Sandrart, August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof, Friedrich Ludwig Sckell, Friedrich von Gärtner and other architects of the time of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and by the children's book illustrator Herbert Pothorn. The codices were created in Germany, Italy, France and other European countries between the 15th and the 20th century. The focus is on works of the 16th to the 18th century.


One part of the manuscripts was originally kept in the old Munich court library, for example the two globes mentioned, another part in the Mannheim court library, such as the Portolan charts. This is hardly surprising, since these impressive "picture books" on the natural sciences of the secular world were popular collection items for the Wittelsbach rulers, which they partly acquired for the holdings of their court libraries or had them transferred to the Munich library from the treasure vault in the 19th century. The collection was additionally expanded in the 20th century by the transfer of around 600 hand-drawn (military) maps to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek from Bavarian army libraries and in particular from the Military District Library VII, Munich. This map collection was incorporated in the collection group of Codices iconographici in 2006.

BSB-CodIcon Online  (catalogue of the Codices inconographici)

Hand-drawn maps