Charters are originals of legal documents which follow specific internal and external criteria. Chartularies, even so often richly illuminated, do not stand at our focus.
Illuminiated charters in the broadest sense are charters with drawn (graphic) or painted elements beside the context script.
Level 1 (Illuminated charters stricto sensu)
Charters with figural (depictive) decoration which is historiated, i. e. decorated respective to content, issuer, recipient or user. Furthermore all charters using additional colour(s) prominently as a means of decoration. The first part excludes merely decorative depictive (figural/zoomorphic/…) elements which, very often, are common use and have no specific meaning. Beside the historiated decoration additional colours are a key feature which distinguishes illuminated charters from the ordinary production of charters.
Charters with drawn (graphic) decoration or display scripts with decorative character, exceeding the contemporary standards and/or characteristic for the production of chancelleries. The graphic decoration became more and more elaborate from 13th century onwards. Therefore the selection must refer to a standard of the specific period.
Graphic means of authentication (especially Chrismon, Monogram, Rota, Signum recognitionis, Signum notarile).