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The Art and Technology of Silk Road Manuscripts

Video conference by Agnieszka Helman-Ważny, Professor, Varsovia University.

This talk explores the form and materials of the manuscripts and ritual objects found along the Silk Road, produced during the first millennium AD and adorned with a variety of hand-painted decorations, miniatures, examples of craftsmanship and technologies such as papermaking and printing available at that time. These manuscripts and printed books include the earliest ever written on paper, with surviving examples of literacy, artistic expression, scribal practice and recorded materials. Individual craftsmanship, cultural and religious affiliation, places of production as well as the purpose of the manuscripts were factors that contributed to the choice of the materials to be used, and highly influenced the form and quality of work. By using systematic technological and material analyses, combined with codicological and textual information, my research has aimed to explore the histories of their regional production and usage.

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