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Mediæval Arabic Block Printing: State of the Field

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Chapter Summary

It has taken somewhat more than a century, but awareness of mediaeval Arabic block printing is finally gaining traction in the broader academic community. This chapter provides an overview of the state of our knowledge about block printing in the mediaeval Islamic lands of the Middle East. It reviews significant contributions of scholars in the modern period, including important treatments of individual examples and collections. The chapter presents a brief review of the historical evidence for printing in Arabic writings of the mediaeval period, and more recent efforts to expand our knowledge of the scope and breadth of mediaeval block printing. It attempts to consolidate the present state of that knowledge into a coherent, meaningful narrative. Above all, the thrust of the chapter is to promote and encourage more scholarship on the issue, leading, one hopes, to an even clearer understanding of the phenomenon.

Keywords: Arabic writings; mediaeval Arabic block printing; mediaeval Islamic lands; Middle East



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