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The Technique of Islamic Bookbinding


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS INTRODUCTION Books as material culture The technique of Islamic bookbinding A biased opinion Understanding in order to preserve A codicological framework Physical examination of the Leiden collections The context The anatomy of the Islamic codex Comparative study of the literature Surveying the collections Terminology Part One MATERIALITY MATTERS A detailed sketch of the current state of knowledge and outline of the research The information value of binding structures General observations Recent developments in Western book history Book archaeology and digitisation Preservation issues Present situation of the book archaeology of Islamic manuscripts Disadvantages in developments The position of book archaeology and the consequences for preservation Obstacles in the study of Islamic book making Decoration Ink Paper Textblock Linking physical analysis, catalogue data and literature Brief outline of the primary and secondary literature The predominant Islamic manuscript type The need for a typology Point of departure for the survey Selection and justification of the corpus The Islamic collections in Leiden Criteria for selecting bindings Possibilities and restrictions Part Two THE ANATOMY OF THE ISLAMIC MANUSCRIPT A detailed overview of the different methods of construction Vocabulary and images as tools Terminology Illustrations Techniques used to construct the textblock Link-stitch sewing Stabbed sewing Sewing on supports The primary endband sewing The dual function of the spine-lining Unsewn manuscripts with wrapper bindings Covering and board attachment Full leather bindings and the use of the two-pieces technique `Built-on' bindings Tabbed spines Tabbed partial leather bindings Tabbed `two-pieces' Indeterminate structure A problematic term: Case-binding A matter of definition Counter-evidence in the structure The dual function of the spine-lining Misjudgement caused by a Western perspective The impact of a leading opinion Other characteristics Boards The fore-edge flap The envelope flap Decorative structural elements Page-markers Characteristically tabbed spines Endband characteristics Meaning and validity of the diversity Part Three COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE HISTORIC SOURCES AND RECENT LITERATURE ON THE MAKING OF ISLAMIC MANUSCRIPTS Historic sources Introductory remarks Ibn Badis Bakr al-Ishbili Al-Malik Al-Muzaffar Ibn Abi Hamidah Al-Sufyani Concluding observations Secondary sources: related studies and general reference works Book historians, art-historians and pioneers of manuscript studies Glossaries and encyclopaedias Founders of our knowledge of the use of structure and materials in Islamic bookmaking Bosch Deroche Gacek Structure as a starting point Szirmai Merian Fischer Espejo and Beny Structure as a side issue Raby and Tanindi Haldane Porter Gruber Miller D'Ottone An assortment of (mis)perceptions Structure as a conservation issue The eighties and nineties of the twentieth century The first decade of the twenty-first century Model making practice The sum of the parts Part Four MULTIPLICITY WITHIN THE TRADITION Account of the methodology and quantitative results of the survey Methodology General procedure Explanation of the database and form design The Malay collection Excluded textblock features Exclusion of binding decoration Excluded binding features Excluded categories Considerations regarding the degree of validity of the findings Survey results - quantitative analysis Datable and localisable manuscripts Sewing Spine-lining Endbands Covering Treatment of the spine at head and tail Fore-edge and envelope flap Inner joints Doublures and endleaves Bindings without paste-paper boards Oblong bindings, page-markers and other phenomena In conclusion Part Five MAPPING THE VARIATIONS IN TIME AND PLACE Datable and localisable features and a further interpretation of the findings Sewing The ratio of the different sewing structures The traditional link-stitch sewing with sewn-on leather doublures Traditional link-stitch sewing on more than two stations A diverging link-stitch sewing on three or more stations Sewing on supports Stabbed sewings Tackets Unsewn manuscripts Spine-lining Material Function Endbanding Patterns Tiedowns Endband cores The saw-cut endband Absence of endbands Covering Full and partial leather Full leather bindings in one and two pieces Composite leather bindings Limp leather bindings Partial leather bindings: the caharkuse binding Partial leather bindings: lacquer bindings Partial leather bindings: the paper binding Relation to content Boards Spine-endings Tabbed spines Cut flush with the textblock Turned-in spine-ends Interior covering of the boards Doublures Endleaf structures Inner joints The lining of the fore-edge flap The evelope and fore-edge flap Miscellaneous features Decorated paper Page-markers Size and format Southeast Asia as a sub-category in the Islamic tradition Summary Part Six CONSIDERATIONS AND NEW PERSPECTIVES Recapitulation Development of the tradition The archetypal Islamic manuscript structure and binding A varied repertoire Transmission of techniques and methods The complex nineteenth century The transition to printed books A profile of the repairs Discussion The perception of Islamic bookmaking from a Western perspective Observation and experimentation The impracticability or drawbacks of a typology Further study Conclusion An adjusted identity Implications for conservators BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDICES I. Glossary II. Corpus III. Example of a record of the database IV. List of manuscripts used in illustrations INDEX

About the Author

Karin Scheper, Ph.D. (Leiden, 2014), is a conservation specialist at the University Library Leiden. She has published on various topics, but concentrates on Islamic manuscripts in both her conservation practice and scholarly research.

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