Chester Beatty Library – “Lapis and Gold, The Story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an” Temporary exhibition

During my work this year as the Heritage Council Intern in Book Conservation at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland, I have had the opportunity to take part in the preparation of the temporary exhibition “Lapis and Gold, The Story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an,” which opened in April 2016.

This 16th century Persian Qur’an was produced in Shiraz by Ruzbihan Muhammad al-Tab‘i al-Shirazi and his team of artists. The manuscript was disbound in 2012 to allow for extensive conservation treatments, including copper corrosion repair and pigment consolidation. Scientific research and study was carried out at this time to help understand the techniques and materials used for its production.

The current exhibition displays 32 framed folios and bifolios, alongside 21 folios in cases, and a small selection of other Persian manuscripts from the Chester Beatty collection. My work focused on the preparation of the folios for their display. This involved mounting and framing the folios, as well as assisting with the set up and opening of the exhibition. Mounting the folios was executed with a variety of methods. Melinex V-hinges were positioned around the folios’ edges in most cases; however, in some instances, the folios needed to be float-mounted. For this, Japanese paper hinges and wheat starch paste were used. Open bifolios required further support, so Benchmark polyethylene strapping was positioned inside the bifolios to prevent them from moving.

The following images are reproduced by permission of © The Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.     

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