The Book of Gospels, which Henry II donated to the cathedral of Bamberg, still bears its original precious binding. The upper cover is covered with gold and decorated with precious stones and pearls. A large oval agate stone is placed in the centre, with a stone from an Arabic amulet in a gold setting on top. The four arms of the cross are marked with gold filigree. Pairs of birds and quadrupeds appear in the rectangular panels of gold in the corners.
The lavishly decorated binding conveys the gospels’ message of salvation to the observer. The cross adorned with precious stones is a symbol for Christ’s victory over death. The rhombic ornaments in the background have been interpreted as symbols of the cosmos, the animals as references to paradise. Thus, Christ, from whom all life originates, reigns over the entire creation.