A Study of the Ancient Craft
Author Helen Loveday
This title published in 2001 is now out of print but available for free online here
The aim of this book is to publish the results of research into the nature and characteristics of Islamic paper, as gleaned through the systematic analysis of over 1000 dated samples. The study has shown that it is possible to establish a tentative typology of paper according to a comprehensive list of objective standards. Descriptions of the physical characteristics of papers originating from Persia, Syria and Egypt, from the 12th until the 19th century, provide a means by which papers are compared and contrasted. Although it is difficult to apply an exact chronology to changes in the materials and techniques of the papermaker, trends in paper-making practice can be identified, and the characteristics of paper from a given century and region can be suggested. Used alongside other corroborative details, it is possible to assign an approximate date and place of manufacture to hitherto unclassified samples with some degree of certainty.
In order to place this research into an historical context, the book begins with an overview of the development of papermaking by hand in the Islamic world. It examines the impact and spread of the craft throughout Persia and the Middle East, and examines its success when compared to other contemporary writing materials, and its failure to compete with imported Western papers.
Published April 2023