Online Workshop: The Textiles in Manuscripts Workshop organised by The Book and the Silk Road Project, May 4th-5th, 2021 (10-15:00 EDT)

The aim of this virtual workshop is to examine the vast use of textiles in manuscripts, both practical and ornamental: their uses within bindings, as wrappers, enclosures, and covering, as cloth used to protect images, and as symbolic or talismanic artefacts. Workshop sessions focus on the use of textiles in Armenian, Chinese, Ethiopian, Islamic, Kashmiri, and Syriac manuscripts from the middle ages through the early modern period. The workshop is not meant to be exhaustive, but to take a unique approach in beginning an interdisciplinary conversation about the production and use of manuscripts across the Silk Roads.

Each session explores content presented in pre-recorded videos that participants must watch in advance of the workshop. The workshop sessions will not be recorded, so register only if you are able to attend the workshop on May 4-5. The pre-recorded videos will be made live by April 20, and will be available both before and after the workshop itself.

For more information and to access the pre-recorded videos, visit the Textiles in Manuscripts Workshop website:

To register, please click here.

The Book and the Silk Roads (2019–2021) is a large-scale collaborative project that aims to tell the story of the book in a new way. Global book history is often represented as a narrative of technological and societal progress — from the tablet and scroll to the biblical codex of late antiquity, to the early modern printing press of the Gutenberg Bible, to today’s “Digital Age.” By contrast, our team works with a diverse and wide-ranging network of collaborators to tell many stories of books, from multiple regions and periods, within a more capacious and less teleological account of the past.

Working across boundaries of geography, institution, and discipline, the distinctive methodology of The Book and the Silk Roads brings together humanities researchers, digital librarians, scientists, conservators, rare book librarians and curators, as well as local and diasporic community members for whom these books represent a precious part of their cultural heritage. By combining our different forms of expertise, we will develop a rich and global history of the book, aiming for interdisciplinary and collaborative breakthroughs in the areas of codicology, conservation and heritage science, and the protection and study of vulnerable and little-understood materials.

The Book and the Silk Roads is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with a team directed by co-Principal Investigators Alexandra Gillespie of the University of Toronto Mississauga, Sian Meikle of the University of Toronto Libraries, and Suzanne Akbari, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.


Published by Ellie Wilson

Ellie Wilson holds a First Class Honours in the History of Art from the University of Bristol, with a particular focus on Medieval Florence. In 2020 she achieved a Distinction in her MA at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where she specialised in the art and architecture of Medieval England under the supervision of Dr Tom Nickson. Her dissertation focussed on an alabaster altarpiece, and its relationship with the cult of St Thomas Becket in France and the Chartreuse de Vauvert. Her current research focusses on the artistic patronage of London’s Livery Companies immediately pre and post-Reformation. Ellie will begin a PhD at the University of York in Autumn 2021 with a WRoCAH studentship, under the supervision of Professor Tim Ayers and Dr Jeanne Nuechterlein.

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