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

in Journal of Islamic Manuscripts
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

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.

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

in Journal of Islamic Manuscripts

Sections

References

2

Walid Saleh“The Last of the Nishapury School of Tafsīr: Al-Wāḥidi and his Significance in the History of Qurʾanic Exegesis” in Journal of the American Oriental Society 126 (April–June 2006): 223–243; “The Introduction to Wāḥidi’s al-Bāsiṭ: an edition translation and commentary” in Karen Bauer (ed.) Aims Methods and Context of Qurʾanic exegesis (Oxford: University Press 2013) 67–100.

4

Arianna D’OttoneI manoscritti arabi dello Yemen: una ricerca codicologica (Roma: Nuova Cultura2006) 53–59.

5

Ibid.76–79.

6

Ibid.83–87.

7

François DérocheManuel de codicologie des manuscrits en écriture arabe (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France2000) 99–106.

8

D’OttoneI manoscritti arabi dello Yemen88–91.

16

In 1888the Prince visited Greece and then Egypt up to Sinai. In the two following years he travelled through Northern Africa especially Algeria and Sahara. He reached Persia in 1894 crossing the Middle East in 1899 and in 1900 he headed to India and returned to Egypt Palestine and Syria in 1908. Valentina Sagaria Rossi “La collezione di manoscritti orientali di Leone Caetani di Sermoneta” in Beatrice Palma Venetucci (ed.) Il fascino dell’Oriente nelle collezioni e nei musei d’Italia (Perugia Artemide editore 2010) 198.

24

Nicholas Pickwoad“Research projects on Historic Bookbindings” in Atti della Conferenza Internazionale: Scelte e Strategie per la Conservazione della Memoria (Dobbiaco Bz: Archivio di Stato: 2005) 190–194; Nicholas Pickwoad “Swaffham revisited: A review of the earlier conservation of books in the Swaffham Parish Library” in Preprint from the 9th International Congress of IADA (Copenhagen 1999) 97–106.

25

Carlo Federici“The relation between conservation and book archaeology: An unresolved contradiction or a false dilemma?” in Quinio 2 (2000) 5–10.

29

Scott H. Husby“Islamic Book Conservation” in The Book and Paper Group Annual9 (1990) http://cool.conservation-us.org/coolaic/sg/bpg/annual/v09/bp09-07.html (last accessed on July 5 2016); David Jacobs Barbara Rodgers “Developments in Islamic binding and Conservation in the Oriental and India Office Collection of the British Library” in The Conservation and Preservation of Islamic Manuscripts Proceeding of the 3rd Conference of Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation (London 1996) 84–85; Giuliano Camilleri “Restauro di un libro islamico presso il Book Conservation Laboratory della Library of Congress” in Libri islamici in controluce. Ricerche modelli esperienze conservative Valentina Sagaria Rossi ed. (Roma: Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata2008) 207.

30

Jacobs Rodgers“Developments”84–85.

31

Husby“Islamic Book Conservation”; Camilleri “Restauro”207; Maria Luisa Russo “Il fondo Yemenita della BANLC. Tra codicologia conservazione e restauro” in Libri islamici in controluce. Ricerche modelli esperienze conservative Valentina Sagaria Rossi ed. (Roma: Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata 2008) 144–146.

33

Simonetta Iannuccelli Silvia Sotgiu“La pulitura superficiale di opere grafiche a stampa con gel rigidi polisaccaridi” in Quaderni 2 (2010) 73–94.

35

Adam Gacek“Instructions on the art of bookbinding attributed to the Rasulid ruler of Yemen Al Malik al-Muẓaffar” in Scribes et Manuscrits du Moyen-OrientFrançois Déroche Francis Richard eds (Paris: 1999) 61.

36

Koninklijke BibliotheekGuidelines for the conservation of leather and parchment bookbindings (The Hague: National Library of the Netherlands1999) 45.

Figures

  • View in gallery
    Figure 1

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a, f. 1v. Beginning of the text. The bad condition of the paper and the repairs in Japanese tissue are visible.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 2

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a, f. 1r. Mamluk-style illuminated title-page. Ownership note written between ʿunwān and shamsa. Annotation erased on the left margin. Number “14” written in pencil in the upper right corner. Also: stamps of Leone Caetani and of the Accademia dei Lincei.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 3

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. Endbands. From top to bottom: model of the head endband; head endband with the broken primary sewing; side-sewing at the starting point of the endband.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 4

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. Front board: the blind tooled decoration, the red paper repairs, the broken joint, the abrasions on the surface are visible.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 5

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. The seal on the fore-edge flap with text: ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd ibn ʿAbd al-Muqīm 1265.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 6

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. Models of the structure before and after the treatment.Drawing by the author

  • View in gallery
    Figure 7

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. The Mamluk-style illuminated title-page after the treatment.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 8

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. New unsupported sewing with two stations.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 9

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. Detaching the paper repairs of the cover using a rigid gel.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 10

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. Reposition of the left board sliding the left joint towards the front edge, decentralizing the spine and widening slightly the right joint.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 11

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. Cover after treatment. The binder’s stamp is on the center of the fore-edge flap. After the cleaning of the binding, the decoration is less visible since the dust was enhancing the contrast.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 12

    Clamshell box for MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

  • View in gallery
    Figure 13

    MS Rome, BANLC Or. 78a. Folder for the fragments.Photo by the author, courtesy of BANLC

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 59 59 10
Full Text Views 6 6 5
PDF Downloads 1 1 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0