Working with Islamic Manuscripts, Oct 17

Thursday, October 17, 5:10pm–6pm

Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building, CMS room 301

Lecture by Karin Scheper (Conservator, Leiden Univ.), author of The Technique of Islamic Bookbinding: Methods, Materials, and Regional Varieties (2018)

“Working with Islamic Manuscripts from a Western perspective to a neutral stance, and a new vocabulary”

Response by Alberto Campagnolo (University of Udine and the Ligatus Project)

Reception to follow

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In the past two decades, quite a few studies on material aspects of manuscripts from the Islamic world have shed new light on these artefacts, and it is fair to say that these have changed our understanding of this manuscript culture, and it’s larger role in the development of bookmaking techniques. As a result, we must also see the western tradition in a different light and question our vocabulary when we talk, write and teach about these objects. The terminology that has become a standard tool to exchange our knowledge, and to describe characteristics in the finest detail, appears very much geared towards western books. This talk is about misunderstandings that may evolve from the lack of a proper terminology for diverse bookmaking traditions, and presents ongoing work to address this problem.

Karin Scheper heads the conservation workshop at the University Library Leiden. In her practical work and study she focusses on manuscripts from the Islamicat world, and received a PhD for her work on the Islamic bookbinding tradition in 2014. She is also an experienced teacher, welcomes interns and has given workshops for western conservation training programmes and institutions in the Islamic world.