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A Conservative Tradition? Arab Papers of the 12th–17th Centuries from the Islamic Manuscripts Collection at the University of Michigan

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This paper presents the preliminary results of a survey of Arab papers appearing in dated and localized manuscripts within the Islamic Manuscripts Collection at the University of Michigan. In particular, a small selection of papers with chain lines grouped in threes carrying texts transcribed in 15th century Damascus have been examined, corresponding to the supposed decline of paper manufacture in Bilād al-Shām, following the rise in quality of Egyptian paper and the introduction of cheaper, higher quality European paper. With a particular interest in evidence for materials and techniques of manufacture, detailed analyses of fiber type, sizing agents and fillers have been conducted, and the results discussed in light of historical recipes and practical knowledge of contemporary methods. Based on the results from these analyses, recommendations for conservation are offered.

Affiliations: 1: University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; 2: University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, MI, USA


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