Kostbare Einbandbeschläge an armenischen Handschriften. Dokumentation jüngster Massnahmen zur Bestandserhaltung.
JASCHKE, Margret and Robert Stähle.
Dr Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2015,
First Edition. large octavo, pictorial boards. 208 pp. Dr Ludwig Reichert Verlag, Item #26846
Text in German. The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts in Yerevan, Armenia, has been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register since 1997 and holds the world's largest collection of Armenian manuscripts, among them a considerable number of gospel books with precious silver metalwork bindings. These codices may often be only small, yet feature "treasure bindings". The multitude of metalwork bindings, from closures to decorative and iconographic-sculptural elements, and their careful workmanship are amazing. Surprisingly, this Armenian cultural heritage has, with few exceptions, remained practically unknown among European experts, even though the Armenians were the first people to adopt Christianity in 301 as their state religion and began spreading their belief in written form in the 5th century. Based on a selection of almost 80 objects, the authors document the restoration of damaged or lost metalwork performed on more than 200 bindings since 2001. By that they provide a comprehensive insight of historic Armenian bindings, particularly their own varied and abundant metalwork. According to the technical appearance and workmanship of the metalwork on the covers they developed a principle of arrangement for the variety to be classified. An elaboration on the various closure systems and their development emphasizes this variety and recognizes the Armenian gold- and silversmiths' expert workmanship. The authors also provide a richly illustrated glossary of the terminology used in restoration to facilitate understanding and to support general discussions about the restoration of metalwork bindings. This publication is an expert presentation based on the authors' extensive practical experience with book restoration. It unlocks a largely unknown aspect of Armenia's cultural heritage. In addition, it may be a source of inspiration and a treasure trove for preservation experts (museums, libraries, archives, restorers, etc.) and lovers of historical books. Extensively illustrated. A very fine copy.