A Bahari Fellowship in the Persian Arts of the Book

This Visiting Fellowship made it possible to research the Persian manuscripts in the Bodleian collections. During my stay, I focussed on manuscripts bound in lacquered boards, though I tried to identify from the catalogues as many manuscripts with 'an original' binding as possible. Original does not necessarily mean 'first', but it does mean locally made, somewhere in the vast Islamic world. Thus the study included other binding types of full and partial leather made in the Indo-Persianate world. In addition, I examined a good deal of the Arabic manuscripts from the Marsh collection.

Materials & Physical Characteristics

The study of manuscripts and books includes the material composition of the physical objects: the textblock and writing substrate, the sewing structure, the bookbinding, and all historic traces of use, repairs or alterations. Decorative aspects - the main focus of 'material studies' a few decades ago - can still be of importance but are only part of the total of information that the physical objects contain. This study of physical features increases our understanding of a certain manuscript and the context in which it was produced.

A fair number of the Persian manuscripts were kept in a protective bag. 

Examples of features that are of interest:   (to be published soon)


Arabic manuscripts from the Marsh (formerly Golius) collections