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Introduction to Manuscripts and Early Print

A page from a Qur'an manuscript.
The painting is part of a manuscript page. The painting occupies the left side of the page while the text occupies the panel on the right. The painting features Devi in the foreground who receives a demon warrior. Devi holds a white trident in one of her four arms while another arm holds a cup. She sits in front of a domed white marble structure, facing the demon warrior, who has a sword and bow and arrow.
This prayer book consists of 20 pages written on the front and back in the Myanmar language. It is decorated in golds and reds with black text.

This portfolio takes a comparative approach to manuscript studies, textual studies, and book history. It includes manuscripts and early print texts from the Ottoman Empire, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Iran, and northern, western and southern Europe. Some use paper, others use an animal skin such as calf or sheepskin. Some are highly decorated with manuscript illuminations and stylized script, others are simply text. Because of its geographic breadth, this portfolio is suitable to textual studies courses in a variety of fields. For courses on the history of the book, it provides a diverse range of manuscript quality, origin, purpose, and text. Taken altogether or in smaller groupings, it raises issues surrounding material culture, premodern historiography, and the production of texts more generally. The presence in this portfolio of manuscripts made well after the spread of the printing press also invites questions about the complex reasons people seek out handmade texts.


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Book history — by (February 13 2017 @ 12:33 pm)
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Creative Commons by-nc-sa (University of Michigan Museum of Art)

Last Updated

January 17, 2019 10:21 a.m.


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