Countless hours went into creating them many centuries ago and they've lost none of their wonder.
And now the 12 rare medieval manuscripts can be seen in rural WA.
The handmade treasures from the Kerry Stokes Collection are on display for the first time at New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery.
The exhibition, Celebrating Word and Image 1250-1600, showcases the richly decorated manuscripts. An illustrated book by Melbourne scholars Margaret Manion and Charles Zika contains images and explanations of the exhibits.
In a foreword to the book, Mr Stokes said illuminated manuscripts were among the earliest art forms and were a glimpse of a lost world. "Each and every one of them was individually and personally crafted," he said. "The labour involved in producing these handwritten manuscripts is fascinating, with some manuscripts taking years to complete, often by more than one artist."
Dom Chris Power said the manuscripts from many countries displayed stylistic differences.
"And they are so very beautiful," he said.
The exhibition runs until March 17. The New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery is open daily from 10am to 4.30pm.