The Conservation of the Islamic Book Bindings of the Department of Islamic Art, Musée du Louvre

in Journal of Islamic Manuscripts
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The reopening of the Islamic Art section of the Louvre Museum in Paris in 2012 was the perfect occasion for a thorough conservation project of the collections. Thirty Islamic bindings were the object of that conservation work. The present article touches upon the general principles of conservation and treats the application of these on the Islamic bindings in the collections, and more in particular for the purpose intended: display in a museum. During the conservation process, three main goals were always kept in mind: the integrity of the object had to be respected, the structure had to be returned to its original shape, and the losses had to be reintegrated aesthetically. That reintegration was also a predominant requirement for museum display. Finally, some after-treatment strategies are discussed. A number of illustrations add a visual dimension to the theoretical treatment of the subject.

The Conservation of the Islamic Book Bindings of the Department of Islamic Art, Musée du Louvre

in Journal of Islamic Manuscripts

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Figures

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    Figure 1

    A Mamluk single board (ms ucad 23763), the exterior, before conservation treatment.

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    Figure 2

    A Mamluk single board (ms ucad 23763), doublure, before conservation treatment, large area of leather loss in the lower part of the board.

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    Figure 3

    A Mamluk single board (ms ucad 23763). During conservation the leather losses were in filled with western paper whereas the bottom part was left untouched.

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    Figure 4

    A Mamluk single board (ms ucad 23763), after conservation and retouching of the paper inlays.

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    Figure 5

    A complete Mamluk binding (ms mao 1209), the exterior, after conservation treatment.

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    Figure 6

    A complete Mamluk binding (ms mao 1209), the interior, after conservation treatment.

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    Figure 7

    A complete Iranian binding (ms ucad 20072), the exterior, before conservation treatment.

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    Figure 8

    A complete Iranian binding (ms ucad 20072), the interior, before conservation treatment.

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    Figure 9

    A complete Iranian binding (ms ucad 20072), the exterior, after conservation treatment.

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    Figure 10

    A complete Iranian binding (ms ucad 20072), the interior, after conservation treatment.

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    Figure 11

    An Iranian single board (ms ucad 150 b), before conservation treatment. The cover is made of stamped and gilt tan leather. The top right corner shows a large area of missing leather.

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    Figure 12

    An Iranian single board (ms ucad 150 b), after conservation treatment. The missing area in the top right corner was in filled with western paper and then retouched, the gilded ruled lines were redrawn with gold acrylic paint.

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    Figure 13

    An Iranian single board (ms ucad 8733), the exterior, before conservation treatment.

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    Figure 14

    An Iranian single board (ms ucad 8733), doublure, before conservation treatment. The leather was pulled out all along the right hand edge.

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    Figure 15

    Iranian single board (ms ucad 8733), doublure, after conservation treatment and reintegration of the right hand edge.

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