Conservation and Restoration of Calligraphic Manuscript

Authors: Ruhulah Hodžić, Ajla Redžić and Azra Hasković
Mentor: Ćazim Hadžimejlić, PhD, Professor

Academy of Fine Arts, Sarajevo and Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration
Specialization: Paper (2nd year of study)


Ruhulah Hodzic, Ajla Redzic, Azra HaskovicBook that we treated was a very important piece due to its content and age. It was a section of the holy Koran, written in Arabic, with plenty of comments and explanations of text in the margins. It is important to mention its interesting illumination, typical for this type of manuscript, especially for its content, i.e. text of Quran. Furthermore, regarding its damage, there were noticeable harmful effects of moisture, insects, accurately worm and bookworm, then human factor, especially in the lower sides of pages, in form of dark spots, which were treated especially and represented a particular challenge, as well as consequences of inappropriate storage. The book pages, which is very interesting, consisted of two parts, i.e. one to another, glued sheets of paper, which as result of long-term harmful effects, were separated from each other. Inside, in areas next to connected book forms, there was visible influence of moisture and bacteria, in form of small dark blue to purple circles. When it comes to applied restoration treatment, at first it was consisted of dry cleaning, especially paying attention to areas between the letters and the lower parts of pages, namely the lower corners, particularly degraded and very fragile. Then we approached to the elimination of old adhesive, left of previous treatment on the areas were book forms connected together, which was of course especially helpful in new reconnecting. The next stage was wet cleaning, using cotton balls and gentle cotton buds, concentrating particularly on the already mentioned, very dirty bottom corners, as well as the tiny spaces between and around especially decorative letters.After passed required and adequate drying time, we consolidated book forms in one single ensemble, paying attention, of course, to correct page numbering, keeping in mind the eastern type of marking. It is very important to mention, that in the process of restoration damaging parts of book pages, we used Japanese paper, which proved to be the most appropriate and the best solution in this case. Finally, it is important to mention that the treated manuscript was successfully cleansed and restored, ignoring small and insignificant difficulties that we have encountered in delicate handling this type of book and its media.

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Short biographies

RUHULAH HODŽIĆ, born in Sarajevo on 21. August 1985. Employed at the Department for Conservation and Restoration of Gazi Husrev-bey Library Sarajevo. Participated in several projects of protection cultural and national heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Student of first generation in Interdisciplinary Study of Academy of Fine Arts and Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Sarajevo, at the Department of Conservation and Restoration.

AJLA REDŽIĆ, born in Sarajevo on 12 July 1985. Graduated from Second Gymnasium Sarajevo. Studied at the Faculty of Political Sciences and the Faculty of Philosophy, study group: Art History and German Language and Art History and Library Science. Worked in NGOs – Cinema for Peace, and volunteered in CHwB - Cultural Heritage without Borders. In first year of study, interned at restoration of wall paintings in Mišćo's mosque in Sarajevo. Currently second year student in Interdisciplinary Study of Academy of Fine Arts and Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Sarajevo, at the Department of Conservation and Restoration.

AZRA HASKOVIĆ, born in Sarajevo on 17. March 1995. Graduated from High School of Applied Arts in Sarajevo, Department of Painting. In couple of occasions, represented her works in exhibitions. Held art classes for children with Down's syndrome. In first year of study, participated in school of vernacular architecture in Stolac and interned at restoration of wall paintings in Mišćo' s mosque in Sarajevo. Since 2014, student in Interdisciplinary Study of Academy of Fine Arts and Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Sarajevo, at the Department of Conservation and Restoration. Currently second year student. Also taking Calligraphy courses.