The Hebrew alphabet, like the Phoenician and Aramaic alphabets from which it derives, originally only consisted of consonants. As in Arabic, it is written and read from right to left. Its ‘square’ characters were found in ancient documents that can be traced as far back as 515 BC. The script changed little over the centuries, though in the Middle Ages each region developed its own style.
The Bodmer Collection houses a fine 13th century manuscript written on high quality paper. This Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament is thought to be of Spanish origin. The calligraphy and the square Sephardic script are magnificent. The page shown here is a carpet-page illumination in true Muslim style.