Alphabetical Index to the Terminology

jump to: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
)

A

go to top
Abrasion

Describes a material or medium in which the upper surface has been rubbed off.

Accretion

The accumulation or deposition of extraneous material on a surface.

Acid

A substance with a particularly reactive chemical nature, often causing other long molecules to break down into smaller ones, with an adverse effect on the strength, stability and color of the affected material.

Adhesive

A material used to join two different materials or two separate pieces of a material. The adhesive is usually applied in liquid form which then dries and hardens to a solid.

Alum tawed leather

(see: Tawed skin)

Ansa

In a full-page illumination, the triangular or dome-like form projecting from the main panel of the illumination into the surrounding margins.

B

go to top
Back

The end of a manuscript codex.

Back cover
(lower cover)

The portion of the binding—generally a rigid or semi-flexible board and the material used to cover the board—that protects the back of the textblock. This structure is attached to the rest of the binding at a joint along the spine which allows independent movement of the cover at the joint.

Bag

A rectangular piece of cloth of which three corners are folded into the middle and sewn together to create a soft enclosure. The fourth corner of the cloth then forms a flap adjacent to the opening of the enclosure. When a manuscript is slipped inside, this flap can be folded over it to close the bag.

Berat

A document in the Ottoman empire, granting an imperial title, privilege or property.

Bifolio

The basic unit making up a gathering. The sheet of support material is folded in the middle, creating the two folios that constitute the bifolio. These folios can be either conjoint or non-conjoint.

Binder

A substance added to paint or ink which adheres the particulate colorants in the medium to the support or substrate material.

Binding

The entire structure used to cover and hold the textblock together, which includes covers, flaps (when present), cover spine, endbands, sewing, spine-lining ,and fastening.

Binion

A gathering made up of two folios.

Bleeding

The migration of media, usually by exposure to moisture, from an area where it was originally applied to contiguous areas.

Blind tooling

Tooling that does not involve gilding or paint.

Blocking

The reactivation by moisture of the binder in the media on a support which causes it to stick to anything brought into contact with it, such as a facing page in a manuscript.

Board

A material, such as thin paper laminates, cardboard or wood, used to create a stiff or semi-flexible core of the covers and flaps of the binding over which leather or some other material is adhered.

Built-on

A process of putting a binding onto a textblock in which the different parts of the binding are applied in different stages. At each stage, the part that is being added must be adhered and allowed to dry before proceeding to the next stage.  

Burnished

A surface of paper, paint or gold that has been rubbed with a hard, smooth tool so as to make it shinier, smoother and more compacted.

C

go to top
Calligraphy

Different styles of written script in which the shape, proportions and spacing of the letters are formally defined.

Carbon ink

Ink in which the colorant is a form of particulate carbon, such as soot collected from oil lamps.

Cartouche

The elongated, ovoid shape often used in decorating covers and as a basic design element in illuminations, especially for defining an area in which an inscription is set.

Catch stitch

(see: link-stitch)

Cellulose

The constituent molecule making up paper. Each cellulose molecule is a long chain of a repeating unit—the sugar Glycosine.

Central medallion

Usually the largest medallion in the decoration of a cover, found at the center of the cover or an illumination.

Chain line group

A group is defined by variations in the spacing between different chain lines. The distance between the chain lines that constitute one group is relatively constant but is different from another relatively constant distance that separates different groups.

Chain lines

The relatively widely spaced marks in the paper, visible in transmitted light, left by the horizontal sewing or wires used to hold the vertical elements in the mold screen together.

Chain stitch

(see: link stitch)

Chevron pattern (herringbone pattern)

The predominant secondary endband pattern found in Islamic endbands. The grain direction of the thread of the secondary endband alternates in each tour of the sewing, thereby creating a characteristic V-shaped or zigzag pattern. Often these patterns are sewn with two colors.

Cloth

Cloth (textile, fabric) – A flexible material composed of woven threads. When the fiber content of the cloth has not been determined it is more accurate to use this generic term for such material in the manuscript than to call it cotton, silk or linen.

Cloth wrap

A square piece of cloth in the middle of which a manuscript could be placed. When each corner of the cloth was folded in over the manuscript, a package was created which served to protect the manuscript when carried or stored.

Cloud band

An elongated and curvilinear stylized cloud motif.

Cockle

A wave-like, undulating distortion in a support material usually caused by moisture.

Collagen

A fibrous protein which is the major component of leather and parchment. When these molecules are twisted and entangled, they give leather much of its strength and elasticity. When pulled into alignment by the action of drying under tension, they give parchment its characteristic opacity, rigidity and color.

Composite ink

Ink formed from a mixture of carbon and iron gall inks.

Conjoint

Two folios constituting a bifolio which are part of the same sheet of support material and separated only by a fold-line.  Conjoint leaves immediately follow each other if the bifolio they make up is the inner bifolio at the center of a gathering. Moving away from the center of the gathering, conjoint leaves are interrupted by all folios closer to the center, with the first leaf of the gathering conjoint to the last leaf in the outer bifolio on the outside of the gathering.

Connective strips

Strips of leather (and sometimes cloth or paper) adhered over the spine of a textblock that is not sewn, serving to help keep the gatherings in order.

Consolidation

Intervention made to the object to secure loose parts or flaking materials and stabilize its condition.

Corner piece

The stamped shape, often a quarter of a medallion, placed in each corner of the central design field on a cover or illumination.

Cover

A composite structure that serves to protect either the front or back outer surface of the textblock. It is usually formed of a rigid board and material adhered over the surface of the board. More rarely, the boards are eliminated entirely and the cover is then is a limp binding.

Cover spine

The portion of the binding that covers the textblock spine.

Covering material

Leather, cloth, paper or a combination of these materials used to cover the board on its outside surface and edges, and usually applied in such a way that the material forms turn-ins on the inside of the boards.

Crack

A type of damage usually formed by dryness and shrinkage. When a material is held under some kind of tension but also tries to shrink due to dryness, constituent elements in the material can break and separate from each other.

Crease

The mark, often a line, left in a substrate material that has been folded.

Cupped

A concave shape assumed by a once-flat media or support.

Cut

A type of damage produced by the passage of a sharp instrument across the surface of a material thereby separating parts of the material from each other. The proximate edges of the separated parts are defined by a relatively clean, regular line, distinguishing this edge from that of a tear or split.

D

go to top
Decanion

A gathering made up of ten folios.

Deckle edge

The original, raw edge of a sheet of paper formed where the pulp is deposited against the edges of the mold (the deckles).

Delaminating

Describes material made up originally of layers of material adhered together in which the layers are separating from each other.

Dış pervaz

The illuminated border around the iç pervaz of a levha.

Diacritical marks

The points or signs added to a letter to distinguish it from other letters with a similar form or to indicate the short vowels which have no Arabic letters to represent them.

Dluwang

A sheet of support material in which the inner bark of a paper mulberry tree beaten to cause the bark fibers to become enmeshed and to make the surface of the sheet flat and smooth. This support is found in manuscripts from Java and Madura in Indonesia.

Domed

  A convex shape assumed by a once-flat media or support.

Doublure

The material covering the inside surface of a board or flap in a binding when that material is not part of the structure of the textblock (in contrast to a pastedown). Typically the inner surfaces of the back cover, fore-edge flap and envelope flap are covered separately; sometimes, however, a single continuous sheet of material covers all of them as well as the joints between them. The material covering the inner board may end at the edge of the inner joint and thus have no direct connection to the textblock, or, it may extend over the inner joint and be adhered onto the outer leaf of the textblock near the spine. In the latter case, the extension of the doublure onto the textblock can be either a stub or a full leaf. In some other cases, the leather used as a spine lining extends to cover the inner surface of the front and back covers.

Dye

A water-based media which is a colored solution or, less commonly, in which a colorant in particulate form is held in suspension. When this media is applied to a support, the word is often used to suggest an all-over application of the media, and/or possibly deeper penetration of the media into the support, and/or possibly the use of some mordant to chemically bond the dye molecules to the substrate molecules.

E

go to top
Edge of a board or textblock

If a manuscript is laid on its front or back, the area of the board or textblock perpendicular to the plane on which the manuscript rests.

Edge of a support

An approximate area encompassing roughly the two centimeters closest to outer limits of a support.

Embossed leather

A design in relief on the surface of leather produced by a stamp.

Embossed paper

A design in relief on the surface of paper produced by a stamp.

Endband
(headband)

The sewn and woven structure at the head and tail of the manuscript spine that helps keep the gatherings in the textblock together and aligned. It comprises a primary and secondary endband.

Endband anchoring threads

(see: tiedowns)

Endband core

The narrow leather strip characteristically found in Islamic endbands over which the primary endband is sewn and the secondary endband is woven.

Endband warp threads

(see: tiedowns)

Endleaves
(see: Endpaper)

One or more leaves (paper, dluwang, parchment or other material) added to the front and/or back of a textblock to protect it. Although they do not carry the manuscript’s original text, they are a place where other inscriptions and notes are sometimes written. These added leaves may comprise fly leaves and pastedowns.

Endpaper
(see: Endleaves)

One or more paper leaves added to the front and/or back of a textblock to protect it. Although they do not carry the manuscript’s original text, they are a place where other inscriptions and notes are sometimes written. These added leaves may comprise fly leaves and pastedowns.

Envelope flap

The pentagonal piece of board and covering material which in a typical Islamic binding extends from the fore-edge flap with a flexible joint. Usually the envelope flap was inserted under the front cover or slid between the leaves of the manuscript. In rare cases it may lie over the front board. This latter arrangement is obligatory if a fastening strap extends from the point of the flap, which was used to wrap around and secure the book.

External casing

Slip cases, satchels, bags and wraps created for the protection and safe carrying of a manuscript.  

F

go to top
Fabric

(see: cloth)

Fascicle

(see: gathering)

Fastening

A leather strap extending from the point of the envelope flap which wraps around the outside of the binding and closes it securely.  When a fastening strap is present, of necessity the envelope flap must lie on top of the front cover when the binding is closed.  This contrasts with the more typical position of the envelope flap, which is usually tucked under the front cover when there is no fastening.

Fermandan

A cylindrical container made from cardboard covered with leather and/or paper that was used for carrying or storing manuscripts, especially firmans or berats in a rolled-up form.  

Filigree work on leather

Delicate lacey designs cut out of finely pared leather, often used for creating doublures.

Filigree work on paper

Delicate lacey designs cut out of paper, often assembled to create floral or landscape compositions.

Firman

The calligraphic copy of an official decree.

Flaked

Describes a paint or ink in which losses are in the form of chunks or flakes.

Flange

An extension of the spine lining material past the width of the textblock spine. This extension is often used to help attach the textblock to the boards of the binding and therefore forms part of the inner joint. It is usually adhered to the inside spine edge of the adjacent board, more rarely to the outside spine edge of the adjacent board.

Flanking medallion

A small medallion used in the decoration of a cover or illumination that flanks the central medallion at each of its vertical ends.

Flap

An indeterminate designation for either the envelope flap or the fore-edge flap or both.

Flesh side of leather

The inner layer of the leather which corresponds to the tissue closest to the muscle, bone and organs of the living animal.

Flesh side of parchment

The inner layer of the parchment, which corresponds to the tissue closest to the muscle, bone and organs of the living animal. The presence of fats in the body of the animal makes the flesh side of the parchment more resistant to adhesion by aqueous inks and paints, so that media often flakes off the flesh side more easily.  Generally the flesh side is lighter and whiter than the hair side of parchments.

Flocculent

An irregular distribution of the fibers in a paper which results in wooly or cloudy clumps in the pulp when viewed in transmitted light. This feature is related to how well the paper pulp was beaten during its preparation and often therefore to the beating technology available to the papermaker. Early Islamic papers are often flocculent.

Fly leaf
(guard leaf)

A folio, originally blank, at the front or back of the manuscript which was intended to protect the first or last leaves of the textblock.

Fold

Some part of a substrate material that is bent from its original position and remains in that bent state.

Fold-line

The crease at the center of a sheet of the support material created when that sheet is folded in two to form a bifolio. A group of bifolios are nested together at their fold-lines to create each gathering. Then each of the gatherings is sewn through the nested fold-lines to attach them to each other, thus creating the textblock.

Foliation

The numbering of every folio.

Folio
(leaf)

Half of a bifolio; comprised of side a and side b of a half sheet of the support used to make up the textblock.

Fore-edge

The edge of a manuscript/folio opposite the spine.

Fore-edge flap

The small piece of board and covering material which in a typical Islamic binding extends from the back cover with a flexible joint and protects the fore-edge of the manuscript.

Framing lines

Narrow ruled lines of paint or ink that define the extent of a text panel, illumination or miniature.

Friable

Describes a paint or ink in which losses are in the form of powder.

Front

The beginning of a manuscript codex.

Front cover
(right-hand cover, upper cover)

The portion of the binding—generally a rigid or semi-flexible board and the material used to cover the board—that protects the front of the textblock. This structure is attached to the rest of the binding at a joint along the spine which allows independent movement of the cover at the joint.

Full leather binding

One in which the outer covering material consists only of leather (excepting any subsidiary overlays, inlays or underlays made of a different material). Usually these bindings are made in one of two ways: either with a single piece of leather covering the entire outer surface of the binding, or with two pieces (the two-pieces technique) covering the outer surface.

G

go to top
Gathering
(fascicle, signature, quire, section)

A group of bifolios, nested together at their fold-line; the basic unit of the textblock.

Gesso

A mixture of gypsum and glue which is applied to some surfaces to prepare them for painting or gilding

Gilding of leather

Decoration techniques that involve the use of precious metal, usually gold, either in the form of metallic paint or metal leaf. The metal is applied using a brush or in leaf form in combination with tooling.

Gilding of paper or parchment

Decoration techniques that involve the use of precious metal, usually gold, either in the form of metallic paint or metal leaf. The metal is applied using a brush or in leaf form, often over a layer of gesso.

Glue

An adhesive usually made from a protein source such as an animal hide.

Guard

A strip of support material (usually paper but possibly parchment) adhered to one or more folios at the gutter and hence with a fold-line of its own through which it is sewn.

Guard leaf

(see: fly leaf)

Gutter

The edge of a folio adjacent to the spine of the manuscript.

H

go to top
Hair side of leather

The outer layer of the leather which corresponds to the visible part of the skin of the living animal and from which the hair emerges.

Hair side of parchment

The outer layer of the parchment, which corresponds to the visible part of the skin of the living animal. It can often be determined by the presence of hair follicles on the surface. Additionally, there is often a difference between the color of the hair and flesh sides of parchments made in the Islamic world, with the hair side being darker and yellower. Also paint and ink usually adhere better to the hair side of the parchment.

Halkari

Illumination done with gold ink wash.

Handmade European paper

Individual sheets of handmade paper produced on a portable mold with a rigid mold screen in which both the horizontal and vertical elements are made of metal wire. The wires in the screen leave characteristically thin, straight laid lines and chain lines as impressions in the paper.

Handmade Islamic paper

Individual sheets of handmade paper made on a portable mold with a flexible mold screen in which narrow, closely aligned elements made from vegetal material such as plant stalks, grasses, or strips of bamboo are held together by lines of sewing. As a consequence of the materials and methods used to construct the Islamic mold screen, the papers made on them have mold impressions with laid lines often broader than those in European laid papers and sometimes slightly curved, and with chain lines that are often absent or difficult to discern.

Handmade paper

Individual sheets of paper made by hand on a portable mold that is dipped into a suspension of paper fibers. As the water drains from the mold, the fibers are deposited in a layer on the flexible mold screen, then released from the screen and, once dried, form the sheet of paper.

Head

The top edge of a manuscript/folio.

Headband

(see: endband)

Herringbone pattern

(see: chevron pattern)

Hilye

A calligraphic panel containing the text of a Hadith or tradition describing or praising the person of the Prophet Muhammad.

Hooked in

Describes a single leaf attached to a gathering by means of a small extension of the leaf past the fold-line at the gutter.

Housing

An enclosure of a manuscript for its protection made by a modern custodian.

I

go to top
Illumination

Painted or drawn embellishment restricted to geometric designs and/or stylized vegetal patterns, sometimes including associated calligraphic inscriptions.

Inclusion

Extraneous bits of material found in papers, sometimes added intentionally and sometimes present as an artifact of the paper-making process.

Ink

A water-based media in which a colorant in particulate form is held in suspension or which is a colored solution.  An adhesive binder is also added to fix the colorant to the surface of the support. Application is usually made with a pen, and the word often implies the production of written text.

Inlay

A material of different color and/or type to that of the covering material or doublure which is cut into a shape and adhered into an area of the same shape cut out of the covering material or doublure. This additional material can then be further decorated with paint and/or stamping.

Inner cover

The inner surface of the front and back covers, envelope flap and fore-edge flap which usually consists of the doublures or pastedowns. In the absence of doublures or pastedowns, the inner cover consists of bare boards. In manuscripts with a leather binding but lacking boards, the inner cover is the flesh side of the leather making up the binding.

Inner folio/bifolio

The innermost folio/bifolio of a gathering.

Inner joint

The moveable joint between the inside of a cover and the textblock, between the back cover and fore-edge flap or between the fore-edge flap and envelope flap.

Inter-group interval

The space between chain lines of different groups.

Intra-group interval

The space between chain lines in a single group.

Iron-gall ink

Ink formed by the reaction of tannic acid with an iron salt, such as ferrous sulfate (Fe2SO4). The name derives from a natural source of tannic acid, the galls formed by some species of trees in response to parasitic insect attack. However, other plant sources are also used. The ink solution oxidizes when applied to a support and is thereby exposed to air. A dark material, ferric tannate, the visible ingredient of the ink, is then precipitated onto the support.

İç pervaz (ara pervaz, ara suyu)

The ensemble of framing lines and spaces which create an inner border around the central text panel of a levha.

İplik

A narrow framing line in gold or any color (except black) which has an empty space adjacent to it on either side separating this framing line from any others that may exist.  

J

go to top
Joint

The place at which the covers and flaps are joined with each other or with the textblock in such a way as to permit motion of one part relative to another.

Juz

One of the standard thirty text divisions of a Qur’an bound independently.

K

go to top
Karalama

A calligraphic exercise sheet, normally consisting of words and letters repeated for practice rather than an actual text.

Kettle stitch

(see: link-stitch)

Kıt’a

A sample of calligraphy on a single sheet.

Köstek

A strip of leather or paper that covers the inner joint, forming a hinge which reinforces the board attachment. The edges of the strip can be cut in tracery designs for decoration.

Kuzu cetveli

An ensemble of framing lines comprised of a framing line of any color (but not gold) abutted on each side by a very narrow black framing line.

L

go to top
Lacquer

Refers to composite materials and associated production techniques in which a base of pasteboard was painted with miniatures or illumination, often on a coating of gesso,and then coated with lustrous varnish made from linseed oil, gum sandarac and other ingredients. Covers of some bindings were made in this manner.

Laid lines

The marks in the paper, visible in transmitted light, left by the thin, closely aligned vertical elements used to make the mold screen.  

Laid paper

Paper made with a mold in which the vertical and horizontal elements of the mold screen leave characteristic marks in the paper, visible in transmitted light.

Laminate

A structure, such as pasteboard, created by layers of material adhered together.

Leaf

(see: folio)

Leather

The outer layer of an animal skin, usually a domestic species such as goat, sheep or cow, which is tanned or tawed to make it strong, durable and resistant to biological degradation. The principal component of leather is an interlocking three-dimensional network of fibers of collagen, a type of protein. See also: Tanned skin and Tawed skin)

Leather grain

The pattern formed by the distribution of the hair follicles on the hair side of the leather which is characteristic of a particular species.

Levha

A large-scale calligraphic panel.

Link stitch on four stations

In this sewing, in addition to the stations near the head and tail like those in the link stitch on two stations, two other stations are created towards the middle of each gathering. The thread goes into the gathering at the first station, passes along the fold-line on the interior of the gathering and exits at the second station, goes back into the gathering at the third station and then exits the gathering again at the fourth station. At the first and fourth stations, the thread is treated in the same manner as described in the link stitch on two stations. However, at the second station the thread is taken behind the one passing between stations two and three on the preceding gathering. Thus a very loose linkage is formed near the middle of the gatherings between the one being sewn and the one previous to it. What distinguishes this particular link stitch is that the thread does not pass continuously inside the fold-line between the outer sewing stations. Instead it passes on the spine side between the second and the third stations.

Link stitch on three or five stations

In this sewing, in addition to the stations near the head and tail like those in the link stitch on two stations, one or three other stations are relatively evenly distributed towards the middle of each gathering. The thread goes into the gathering at the first station, passes along the fold-line on the interior of the gathering and exits at the next station towards the middle of the gathering. It then passes behind the thread at the adjacent station on the previous gathering and then goes back into the same station that it exited from. The sewing continues in this manner until the thread reaches the last station and which point the linkage is like that of the link-stitch sewing on two stations.  As the sewing progresses, chains of one type of linkage are formed at the outermost stations and another type of linkage at the station or stations between them. Although this sewing could theoretically be done on three or more stations, it has been observed so far only on three or five stations in manuscripts from Southeast Asia.

Link-stitch sewing
(catch stitch, kettle stitch, chain stitch)

This unsupported sewing is the most common in Islamic manuscripts. The stations are usually positioned roughly a third or a quarter of the spine-length from the head and tail of the manuscript. The thread goes into the gathering at one of these stations, passes along the fold-line on the inside of the gathering, and exits the gathering on the spine at the other station. The thread then passes behind the thread going into the adjacent station on the previous gathering and up through the loop formed by itself in this passage. Once the thread is pulled taut, the loop cinches the thread passing through it, thereby forming a kind of knot to secure the sewing. It then continues on to the next gathering to be sewed. Thus as the sewing progresses, two chains of linkages are formed: one chain links all the gatherings at the stations adjacent to each other towards the head, the other links all the gatherings at the stations adjacent to each other towards the tail of the gatherings.

Lower cover

see: back cover

M

go to top
Machine-made paper

Paper made by machine in sheets or continuous rolls. Although machines can replicate the chain lines and laid lines found in handmade European papers, these artificial mold impressions have a clarity and uniformity that distinguish them from the real ones.

Manuscript

Any handwritten material on a supple support such as paper, parchment or papyrus. Although this material in conventional book form can be differentiated from such material on single sheets, the technical term for the book form, manuscript codex, is usually shortened simply to manuscript. Therefore much of the terminology used to describe a manuscript actually refers only to the book form.

Manuscript Codex

A handwritten book. The term for the book form is usually shortened to manuscript although other types of manuscript on single sheets (as listed below) also exist.

Marbled

A technique in which pigments in suspension are floated on water and drawn into delicate patterns, which can resemble the patterns found in marble. When paper is laid directly onto the suspension of colorant and binder, the patterns are transferred to the paper and adhere there.

Margin

The area of the page outside the text panel.

Media

The materials such as ink, paint, dye and metal leaf used to write on or embellish a support.

Metal leaf

Precious metals such as gold and silver are beaten until they become a very thin sheet which is adhered over a layer of binder onto the surface to be decorated.

Metallic paint/metallic ink

Metal leaf is crushed, powdered and evenly dispersed in a binder so that it can be applied with a brush or pen.

Methylcellulose

A molecule formed by the addition of methyl (-CH3) groups to a cellulose molecule. This chemically stable substance is widely used in conservation as an adhesive, sizing agent and to soften water soluble material by the controlled release of moisture.

Middle folio/bifolio

A folio/bifolio between the inner and outer folio/bifolios of a gathering.

Miniature

A painted or drawn illustration involving figurative representation.

Muhat payı

The joint between the back cover and fore-edge flap and the joint between the fore-edge flap and envelope flap.

Muraqqa

An album of assembled calligraphic samples and/or miniatures.

Mülemma
(sıvama altın)

A design stamped on leather in which gilding is applied both to the areas of the design raised by the stamping as well as the surround that is not raised. Different shades of gold are sometimes used to distinguish the raised design from the ground.

Mülevven

A type of binding in which two different colors of leather (or leather and paper) are used. The overall binding is one color of leather with smaller areas of the design picked out in another color of leather (or occasionally paper), which can be applied as an inlay or an onlay.

N

go to top
Non-conjoint

Two folios constituting a bifolio that are adhered or guarded together at or near the fold-line.

Nonion

A gathering made up of nine folios.

O

go to top
Octonion

A gathering made up of eight folios.

Offset

Paint or ink found in a place where it was not applied or intended to be, such as the page in a manuscript facing the one where the media was actually applied. Usually the original media has been softened by moisture and some of it has stuck to the place where the offset then appears.

Onlay

(see also: overlay)

Outer cover

The outer surface of the binding which usually consists of the material or materials covering the boards. In the absence of a covering material, the outer cover then consists of the bare boards.

Outer folio/bifolio

The outermost folio/bifolio in a gathering.

Outer joint

The moveable joint between the outside of a cover and the spine, between the back cover and fore-edge flap or between the fore-edge flap and envelope flap.

Overcasting
(oversewing)

A sewing technique that connects an indefinite number of folios. The thread is taken through a set of aligned transversal holes in the stack of folios, passes around the spine-edge to enter the next set of aligned transversal holes, and continues in this manner until it is taken through all of the sets of transversal holes and is then tied off. This technique is often used to join loose folios into a structure that functions like a gathering. A group of these gathering-like structures can then be joined together with a secondary sewing. The secondary sewing passes through the middle of each gathering-like structure in front of the overcast sewing, then goes out and around a cord or piece of leather, goes back into the middle of that structure, and continues in this manner until the structure is attached to all of the support cords or thongs. The thread then passes to the next gathering-like structure and repeats the process in reverses. With each passage to the next structure, the thread reverses direction but follows the same pattern until all of the gathering-like structures are attached to the support cords or thongs. The technique restricts the ability of the textblock to open. It is usually found as a historical repair method for stabilizing manuscripts in which the original sewing structures have been damaged or for joining loose leaves into a composite textblock.

Overlay
(onlay)

A material of different color and/or type to that of the covering material that is adhered over an area of the cover or doublure on which there is already a layer of the covering material. This additional material can then be further decorated with paint and/or stamping.

Oversewing

(see: overcasting)

Oxidation

A chemical process taking place in the presence of oxygen, which often results in the breakdown of longer molecules into smaller ones. Such a process operating on cellulose, for example, makes the paper constituted of the smaller pieces of cellulose considerably weaker, and more brittle, and usually also yellower or browner than the original.

P

go to top
Page

One side of a folio.

Page-marker

A tab or tassel (made of a variety of materials, such as cloth, string, paper, leather) attached to the fore-edge of certain leaves so as to mark the placement of these leaves.

Pagination

The numbering of every page.

Paint

A water-based media in which a colorant in particulate form is held in suspension or which is a colored solution. An adhesive binder is also added to fix the colorant to the surface of the support. Application is usually made with a brush, and the word often implies the production of a miniature or an illumination.

Palmette

An elongated and curvilinear leaf form, either single or split.

Paper

A support which is a sheet of interlocked fibers, usually of plant origin, deposited from a suspension in water onto a fine screen, then dried and processed.

Papyrus

A support made from a plant native to the Nile River. The pith of the papyrus is cut into strips which are laid parallel to each other with their edges slightly overlapping. Another layer of the strips is then laid on top of the first but in a perpendicular orientation. The two layers, moistened with water, are pounded flat, then dried and finished to form a sheet.

Parchment

A support made from animal skin that has been wetted, treated with lime and scraped to remove all hair and flesh, then stretched and dried under tension. Usually goat, sheep or calf were used for making parchment. In the Islamic tradition gazelle is also sometimes listed as a source of parchment and in some languages parchment is referred to as “gazal”. However, the implication that parchment was primarily obtained from this wild animal and not the more available domestic species is unsubstantiated.

Pared leather

After leather has been tanned or tawed,it is usually too thick to be used in book making.  Consequently it is thinned with sharp knives or other instruments, which constitutes the paring process.

Partial leather binding

A style of binding in which thin strips of leather are applied around the edges of the boards to frame the material (usually cloth or paper) used to cover the rest of the outer surfaces of the boards and doublures.

Paste

An adhesive usually made from a vegetal source such as wheat or rice starch.

Pasteboard

A stiff material created by adhering several layers of paper together.

Pastedown

A folio adhered to the inside of the front or back board that is either conjoint with a leaf sewn into the textblock or is conjoint with a leaf tipped onto the outer page of the sewn textblock. It always covers the inside joint between the cover and the spine but, in the case of the back cover, never extends over the inner surface of the fore-edge flap and envelope flap.

Pigment

A ground mineral or other substance used as a colorant in paint, dye or ink.

Primary endband

The sewing at the head or tail of the spine over the endband core that passes through the fold-line of each gathering in the textblock sequentially from the front to the back of the manuscript. This sewing functions to help join together the gatherings in the textblock and to keep them from moving independently.

Protein

Usually long and highly varied molecules made from the assembly of specific smaller molecules. Proteins are a major component of animal products such as leather, parchment and some glues.

Pulp board

A stiff material created by the deposition of pulp in a layer thicker than that which constitutes a sheet of paper.

Q

go to top
Quaternion

A gathering made up of four folios.

Quatrefoil

A flower-like shape with four lobes reminiscent of a four-leaf clover. Sometimes this can be found as one of the elements making up the design of borders in the decoration of bindings.

Quinion

A gathering made up of five folios.

Quire

(see: gathering)

R

go to top
Radiant lines

Resembling darts or rays, these lines project from an illuminated area or, in the case of a binding, a tooled area into the surround.

Recto

The side of a single sheet manuscript (kit’a, hilye, berat, ferman or levha) on which the inscription begins or which is the focus of attention for the reader.

Remnant

A small amount of material left from an original amount.

Residue

A small amount of material left from an original amount in which the material’s chemical nature and its effect on surrounding areas are of interest.

Rıh

A fine sand or sand-like material, usually with glittery components, which is sprinkled over writing when the ink is fresh so that the glitter adheres to the ink as it dries.  This is used to highlight certain words in a text.  

S

go to top
Safina

An oblong shaped manuscript, often containing poetry or a compendium of literature. The text is usually written perpendicular to the opening so that the manuscript must be rotated 90 degrees clockwise to be in a correct orientation for reading.  

Satchel

A case with a strap, both usually made of leather, for carrying and protecting a manuscript-often one comprising loose, unbound folios. A satchel was sometimes made especially to fit the dimensions of a particular manuscript.

Saz

A vegetal design which includes serrated curvilinear leaf forms.

Secondary endband

The threads woven through the primary endband sewing over the endband core. Often colorful, the function of the secondary endband is mostly decorative, although it has some function in keeping the endband warps together on the core.

Section

(see: gathering)

Senion

A gathering made up of six folios.

Septenion

A gathering made up of seven folios.

Serlevha

A full-page illumination with which texts or sections of text begin.

Sewing

The passage of thread through the gatherings in order to connect them and thus form the textblock.

Sewing stations

The points at which the sewing thread passes through a gathering.

Sewing supports

Material, usually cords or bands, that extend across the width of the textblock spine over or around which the sewing thread passes.

Sıvama altın

(see: mülemma)

Side a

The side of a folio that is looked at first when moving through a manuscript codex from front to back.

Side b

The side of a folio that is the obverse of side a.

Signature

(see: gathering)

Simplified link-stitch

Unsupported sewing similar to the link-stitch. The sewing thread passes from sewing station to sewing station along the fold-line on the inside of each gathering. When the thread exits one gathering on the spine, it is taken behind the thread going into the adjacent station on the previous gathering. However, unlike the link-stitch sewing, it does not go through the loop formed by itself in this passage. Consequently there is no cinching of the thread by that loop before it proceeds to the next gathering to be sewed. Again, two chains of linkages are formed: one chain linking all the gatherings at the stations adjacent to each other towards the head, the other linking all the gatherings at the stations adjacent to each other towards the tail of the gatherings. These linkages are looser, however, than those formed by the link-stitch sewing.

Singleton

A gathering made up of a single folio.

Size

A material used to fill the pores of paper so as to make the surface smoother for the application of media. In Islamic papers, size is usually applied to the paper surface after the sheets are made; more rarely, size can be added to the pulp from which the sheets are formed.

Skinning

Describes a material in which the upper surface has been pulled off.

Slip cases

A box with an opening at one end into which a manuscript was slipped for protection. The opening is then closed by a flap on the box. Often such a box was made at the time of the manuscript’s production using materials and decoration to match it.  

Spine

The edge of a manuscript codex opposite the fore-edge.

Spine lining

Cloth or leather that is usually adhered to the full length of a textblock spine. The lining helps keep the gatherings from shifting in the textblock. Additionally, since the primary endband is sewn through the lining, this material helps prevent the endband warp threads from tearing through the gathering folds when the endbands are sewn and also later when the volume is opened and closed.  Often the lining is wider than the textblock spine thereby forming flanges that extend from either side of the spine.

Split

A type of damage usually found along a fold-line or joint or at an edge where two materials are adhered together. In the latter case, differences in rigidity of the two materials causes the weaker one to break when it has been repeatedly manipulated at that edge. Similar breaks can also occur at joints and folds under repeated manipulation. As fibers stick out irregularly from the edge of the split, it can be difficult to distinguish from that of a tear. However, the two types of damage are caused by different forces and usually can be distinguished by the context in which the damage is found.

Sprinkled

A decorative technique in which flecks of media are scattered over the surface of the support.

Stabbed

A transversal hole is created through the gatherings near the spine.

Stabbed connection

A cord or leather lace is drawn through the aligned transversal holes in a stack of stabbed folios and then tied. 

Stabilization

Intervention made either directly to the object or to its environment to prevent further damage or slow the rate of deterioration.

Stamping of leather

A hard material carrying a design on its surface is applied with some force to another surface. In one method, the material carrying the design is applied with enough pressure so as to transfer an impression of that design onto the leather to which it was applied. In another method, the material carrying the design is heated and applied to wet leather. Those areas of the leather exposed to the heated parts of the design become darker in color than the empty spaces in the design.

Stamping of paper

A hard material carrying a design on its surface is applied with some force to another surface. In one method, the material carrying the design is applied with enough pressure so as to transfer an impression of that design onto the paper to which it was applied. In another method, ink or paint is applied to the surface of the material carrying the design. When that material is applied to paper, the colored media reproduces the design on the paper.

Starch

A family of molecules which consist of long chains of repeating units of sugar. Derived from different plant sources, once purified these molecules exist as white powder.  When mixed with water and cooked, they produce a strong adhesive, known as paste.

Stenciled

A decorative technique in which designs are applied to the surface of a support with a stencil. The stencil is created by cutting out a pattern in a stiff material which is then laid over the support to be decorated. When media is applied to the support through those areas cut out of the stencil, the design of the stencil is thereby transferred to the support.

Striped diagonal pattern

A secondary endband pattern found occasionally in Islamic endbands. Woven with two colors of thread, the grain direction of the thread is kept the same in each tour of the sewing. However, each color of thread is woven on endband warp threads in one tour of the sewing that are staggered relative to those in the next tour, thereby producing diagonal stripes.

Striped vertical pattern

A secondary endband pattern found occasionally in Islamic endbands. Woven with two colors of thread, the grain direction of the thread is kept the same in each tour of the sewing. Each color of thread is always woven on the same endband warp threads in every tour of the sewing, thereby producing stripes vertical to the spine.

Stub

 The small extension of the hooked-in leaf.

Support

The material in the textblock which provides the surface on which text is written or paint is applied. Paper and parchment are the most common types of Islamic manuscript supports. In the early period, papyrus was also used in some regions, chiefly Egypt. Other types of regionally specific supports are also used, such as dluwang in Indonesia. [These materials are defined in section 2, Textblock.]

Supported sewing

Sewing that includes the use of cords, leather straps, or other bands on the textblock spine. As the sewing thread passes over or around these supports, they help prevent the thread from tearing through the gatherings and, by attaching to the adjacent boards, can help strengthen the connection between the textblock and covers.

T

go to top
Tab

Projection of the spine leather past the end of the cover spine at the head and tail. This may have been an artifact of the way the leather was applied to the boards: when the binder turned in the leather on the head and tail of the boards, the leather at the ends of the spine was cut to leave a raw edge on this extension. These structures may also have served to cover and protect the endband, and/or had a decorative function.

Tahrir

Cloud-like outlines drawn around lines of text.

Tail

The bottom edge of a manuscript/folio.

Taj

The dome-like or triangular form at the top of an unvan.

Tanned leather

(see: Tanned skin)

Tanned skin

The skin of an animal is cleaned, scraped and dehaired and then soaked in a series of solutions, some of which contain tannin. Historically a variety of vegetal materials were used as tannin sources.  During the tanning process, the protein molecules in the leather become more durable and resistant to microbiological attack and turn a brown color.

Tawed skin

The skin of an animal is cleaned, scraped and dehaired and then soaked in a series of chemical solutions which contain aluminium salts, proteins and other compounds. During the tawing process, the protein molecules in the leather become more durable and resistant to microbiological attack. Tawed leather is very light in color, approaching white.

Tawed leather

(see: Tawed skin)

Tear

A type of damage produced when a force is applied to part of a material to move it in one direction, while a countervailing force keeps other parts of the material from moving in that direction.  Constituent elements of the material are thereby forcibly separated from each other. As fibers stick out irregularly from the edge of the tear, it can be distinguished easily from that of a cut.

Text area

(see: Text panel)

Text panel
(Text area)

The area on a page designated for the text of the manuscript.

Textblock spine

The edge of the manuscript where the fold-lines in the gatherings are stacked adjacent to each other. When the textblock is sewn, the sewing thread passes between the different gatherings at the spine.

Textblock

The assemblage of gatherings and their constituent leaves that comprise the total manuscript without its binding.

Textile

(see: cloth)

Thread

A long, continuous strand composed of processed plant fibers (cotton, flax, hemp) and/or animal fibers (silk, wool) that are spun together. Often spun single strands are then plied together to form stronger or thicker multiple strands.

Tiedowns
(endband anchoring threads; endband warp threads)

The threads forming the primary endband that attach the endband core to the gatherings. They also serve as the warp threads on which the secondary endband is woven.

Tipped on

Describes the attachment of a folio or bifolio to a sewn textblock by means of adhesion.  Adhesive is applied to the surface of the folio or bifolio to be added in the area immediately alongside the fold-line. When the folio/bifolio is put into position in the textblock, the adhesive attaches it to the adjacent folio.

Tooling

Impressed lines or patterns worked in leather with various tools.

Tracery work

Designs cut out of leather or paper and adhered to a binding. Filigree work represents the fine end of the spectrum of tracery work, but larger, cruder designs can also be cut out of the leather or paper.

Trinion

A gathering made up of three folios.

Tuğra

The stylized calligraphic monogram of an Ottoman Sultan.

Turn-in

The portion of a covering material that is folded back and adhered behind the covered surface. The turn-in is usually brought over the edges of a board and adhered on the reverse of the covered board surface. The edges of the turn-in are adhered under or on top of the doublure, depending on the material used for covering the board’s inner surface. If there are no boards, the edges may be folded back and adhered directly to the reverse of the covering material.

Turn-out

The portion of a doublure that is folded over the board edges and adhered on the outside of the board. This is rarely encountered.

Two-pieces technique

Two pieces of leather are used to make up a full leather binding. The seam where they overlap is usually found on the cover spine but is often difficult to detect.

U

go to top
Underlay

A layer of material of different color and/or type to that of the covering material which is adhered over a restricted area of the boards. Although the covering material is subsequently adhered over this layer, the underlying material can be seen through a cut-out design in the upper layer.

Unsupported sewing

Sewing that does not use sewing supports on the textblock spine. Without support, the sewing is much more vulnerable to tearing through the gatherings. The connection between the covers and textblock is also weaker since the attachment is made only by the covering material extending onto the textblock spine and possibly by material joining the doublure to the textblock on the inner joints.  

Unvan

A large illumination in an area at the top of a page with which many texts or sections of text begin.

Upper cover

see: front cover

Üstten ayırma

A design stamped on leather in which gilding is applied only to the areas of the design raised by the stamping.

V

go to top
Verdigris

A green paint formed from the pigment copper acetate. The presence of copper in a pigment often causes characteristic discoloration and deterioration of the support to which the paint is applied. The name verdigris is widely, but wrongly, applied to any green paint in which such damage is observed. These green paints are complex chemical compounds made in different ways, using different ingredients. What they share is the presence of copper, and it appears to be salts of copper that cause damage to the support. Consequently, unless a pigment has been positively identified through analysis, it is more accurate to refer to it as probably containing copper.

Verse marker

A small illuminated design, usually a rosette form, used to designate the end of each verse in the Qur’an or in poetical works or in texts of rhymed prose.

Verso

Verso – The side of a singlesheet manuscript (kit’a, hilye, berat, ferman or levha) which is the obverse of the recto.

W

go to top
Wasli board

A term often used in the literature to describe the mount for many Indian miniatures and calligraphic samples. The Wasli board is a laminate structure; several sheets of paper are adhered together to create a kind of pasteboard that serves to support the miniature or calligraphic panel adhered to its surface.

Watermark

A motif, visible in transmitted light, incorporated into a sheet of paper while it is made. These motifs sometimes distinguish particular papermaking workshops or markets for which the paper was made. Watermarks were only used by papermakers in Europe. As the wires that create the watermark must be woven into a papermaking mold, the relatively short lifetime of a mold determines how long that exact watermark will be used.  Another watermark, even one very similar in design, will still have small differences that distinguish it. Thus the date associated with a specific watermark in a dated manuscript can usually be given to the same paper found in otherwise undated manuscripts, unless there are compelling reasons to think otherwise.

Woodpulp paper

Paper made of short fibers created by the pulping of wood. Unless highly processed, the chemical composition of wood contains substances deleterious to paper. Consequently these papers are usually of poor quality and deteriorate relatively quickly.

Wove paper

Paper made with a mold or using a process in which no chain lines or laid lines are visible in the paper in transmitted light.

Wrapper binding

A binding intentionally not joined to the textblock but simply wrapped around it.

 

 

copyright: Paul Hepworth and Karin Scheper