Introduction to Islamic Book Structures: Mamluk Bookbinding
Dates: Monday, 31 January – Friday, 4 February 2011
Location: The Moller Centre, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Tutor: Mr John Mumford, Senior Conservator and Head of Manuscript Conservation, Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation and Dar al-Kutub Manuscript Project
Guest Lecturer: Dr Alison Ohta, Director, Royal Asiatic Society
Participants in this short course will make a model of a Mamluk style Islamic bookbinding based on 13th–16th century examples from Egypt that the course tutor has studied at the National Library of Egypt and the British Library.
After an introductory lecture on the history and codicology of Mamluk bindings, participants will sew a pre-cut and pre-folded text block, make pasteboards and embossed leather doublures, construct endbands, cover the boards with leather, and tool and gild the binding with replica tools.
During the course, the tutor will compare and contrast Mamluk bindings with the descriptions of Islamic book structures and binding practices in five historical treatises: Ibn Badis’ ‘Umdat al-kuttab wa-‘uddat dhawi al-albab, Yusuf ibn ‘Umar al-Malik al-Muzaffar’s Mukhtara’ fi funun min al-suna‘, Bakr ibn Ibrahim al-Ishbili’s al-Tasir fi sina‘at al-tasfir, Ibn Abi Hamidah’s Tadbir al-safir fi sina‘at al-tasfir, and Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Sufyani’s Sina‘at tasfir al-kutub wa-hall al-dhahab. He will also explain the strengths and weakness of Mamluk bindings and related conservation problems.
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