Photo courtesy of ICE

 The Cleveland Museum of Art has turned over a page from a medieval songbook so it can be returned to Italy. 

Here’s the release from Customs officials:

14th century Italian manuscript transferred to ICE following probe

Nov. 4, 2016

CLEVELAND –A 14th-century manuscript leaf from an Antiphonary was transferred Friday to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations custody, paving the way for its delivery to Italy. The transfer follows a two-year probe by HSI.

The leaf was purchased, in good faith, by the Museum in 1952, at which time it was attributed to a different artist. It has not been on display for more than 10 years.

The Museum was contacted by HSI after a second leaf appeared on the Swiss market. That leaf was recently turned over to the Italian government. Working collaboratively with HSI to research the history of the leaf and after evaluating the information provided by the Italian government, the Museum agreed the leaf should be transferred to Italy to be reunited with the Antiphonary.

 “Once we were able to substantiate the information provided, we decided that the best place for the leaf was back with the Antiphonary. We feel the leaf has greater significance if it is reunited with the other illuminations in the manuscript. Along with the recovery of a second leaf, the Antiphonary will now be complete” said William Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Master of Dominican Effigies, an important illuminator, created an illuminated manuscript known as Codex D sometime between 1335 and 1345. Codex D, essentially a type of hymnal, is parchment with leather binding and contained seven illuminated pages. The illuminated page with the initial L depicts Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia). A portion of the page was removed from the Antiphonary and is known as a leaf. The leaf is ink, tempera and gold on parchment. It measures 44.3 cm high and 35.2 cm wide.

The Antiphonary was formerly in the Church of Saints Ippolito and Biagio of Castelfiorentino and is now preserved in the Museum of Santa Verdiana, Castelfiorentino, Italy.

The Antiphonary is a partially illuminated liturgical manuscript intended for use by a choir. A delivery date to the Italian government is being finalized.