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How Conservation Can Unveil the Story of a Manuscript. An Arabic Qurʾan Commentary from the Yemen

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Ancient items have a long and often adventurous story to tell, which forms a significant part of their historical value. Knowing how to make an artefact tell this narrative is as much a part of a conservator’s job as taking care of its physical form.Manuscript Or. 78a from the Library of Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana in Rome is an emblematic case. This uncatalogued and damaged specimen disclosed its rarity and value during the conservation intervention. Its story begins in 14th-century Rasulid Yemen, but presents a Mamluk-style miniature, traces of different sewings and several possession notes, unveiling its journey to join Prince Leone Caetani’s collection between 1888–1911.This article retraces the steps that brought it from its original home to its present location and then to the conservator’s bench, and explains the conservation and preservation decisions taken in light of the item’s unique vicissitudes.

Affiliations: 1: University of Hamburg claudia.colini@studium.uni-hamburg.de

10.1163/1878464X-00703001
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/content/journals/10.1163/1878464x-00703001
2016-01-01
2018-09-23

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