Early Arabic Bookmaking Techniques as Described by al-Rāzī in His Recently Rediscovered Zīnat al-Katabah

in Journal of Islamic Manuscripts
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Abstract

This paper provides an introduction to one of the oldest, and until recently, unknown treatises on the topic of Islamic bookmaking: the Zīnat al-Katabah by the physician and chemist Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī (d. 313/925). It demonstrates this text’s relevance to bookmaking literature, contextualizes its title and author, and supplies a detailed description of its contents. The main subjects discussed within al-Rāzī’s work include ink-making techniques, invisible inks, paper soaking, and erasures on parchment, papyrus and paper. This paper also contains an initial comparison between al-Rāzī’s text and other texts, both earlier as well as subsequent, on the same subject. Lastly, an analysis reveals the fact that this text has been cited by authors who failed to provide a reference, then corrects some distorted passages, and disputes various falsely established ideas.

Early Arabic Bookmaking Techniques as Described by al-Rāzī in His Recently Rediscovered Zīnat al-Katabah

in Journal of Islamic Manuscripts

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References

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    Zīnat al-Katabah by Muḥammad b. Zakarīyāʾ al-Rāzī. Beginning of the text. MS Cairo, Dār al-Kutub, Majāmīʿ Ṭalʿat 331, f. 79a.
  • View in gallery
    Zīnat al-Katabah by Muḥammad b. Zakarīyāʾ al-Rāzī. End of the text. MS Cairo, Dār al-Kutub, Majāmīʿ Ṭalʿat 331, f. 84a.

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