Medieval Book Repair


Photo: Uppsala University Library

I am always inspired by the artistic work of the medieval monks.  The patience and dedication that they practiced in hand writing manuscripts was an act of worship and it shows. Their penmanship is an art form all on it’s own, and the illuminations are incredible. I am inspired by the devotion of the monks who faithfully sought to honor God by hand writing the bible in hopes that others would be able to read God’s words.

They used parchment when making these ancient books.

Parchment  is a thin material made from hide; often calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin, and often split. Its most common use was as a material for writing on, for documents, notes, or the pages of a book, codex or manuscript. It is distinct from leather in that parchment is limed but not tanned; therefore, it is very reactive to changes in relative humidity and is not waterproof. Finer-quality parchment is called vellum. – Wikipedia.


Photo: Uppsala University Library

Often there were small holes in the parchment that was made.  After a book had been written, the monks would then go back and “repair” these holes by embroidering around the edges with silk thread.  The result is beautiful!

You can read about this method in more detail at  Uppsala University Library.


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