Classification of finishing tools in Greek bookbinding by Sarris (2010)

Sarris, Nikolas; Classification of finishing tools in Greek bookbinding: establishing links from the Library of St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London (2010).
URL (UAL Repository)

The thesis examines the decoration of Greek bookbinding, through the study of the leather-covered bindings from the monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai, Egypt.
The manuscript collection is remarkable for the variety of binding styles that represent mainly Greek but also other bookbinding traditions, including Georgian. Syrian and Eastern European. The examination of the decorative motifs tooled on the leather covered bindings aims to identify the style and characteristics of bookbinding at the monastery. Moreover, links between and evidence for specific bindings and the manuscripts they contain are established by grouping them and relating them to specific binders and bookbinding workshops. The workshops of the monastery are examined in parallel with groups of bindings that were imported into the monastery. The extent to which the trade in books and the circulation of binding techniques between the monastery and the west was a reflection of the relations of the monastery with its dependencies is also explored.
Rubbings of the approximately 5500 tool impressions on the 1195 decorated bindings have provided the core research material. They have been identified, classified and organized into a descriptive electronic database. Imaging techniques have been developed to compare the scanned impressions, which permitted the identification of impressions of the same finishing tools. Based on the identity of their decorative tools and on the process of comparison of their structural features, a number of the bindings have been ascribed to a total of 70 specific workshops, whose dates and origins are explored. 16 of these workshops - nine from the monastery of St Catherine and seven from elsewhere, which produced bindings imported to the monastery, are discussed analytically. In addition to that, 40 original bookbinding finishing tools were discovered at the monastery during this research, which have provided invaluable material for our understanding of the tooling methods and particularities of decorated book covers at the monastery.
The largest corpus of finishing tools used on Greek bindings to date has been compiled to provide a reference tool which will aid future research on Greek bookbinding.


Toward the standardization of use-wear studies: constructing an analogue to prehistoric hide work by Wiederhold (2004)

Wiederhold, James Edward; Toward the standardization of use-wear studies: constructing an analogue to prehistoric hide work. Master's thesis in Anthropology, Texas A&M University (2004).
URL (OAKTrust)

This thesis is a use-wear study that deals with microwear on stone endscrapers used on one worked material: animal skins. The first part of the study defines and describes the process of rendering freshly skinned pelts into functional leather or rawhide products, addressing confusing terminology found in the literature as well. Problems with past use-wear experiments dealing with animal skins are also confronted and explained. The second part of the study examines endscrapers used to flesh and dehair bison hides and compares the use-wear traces left on the tool edge by each activity. This suite of characteristics is then compared to those found on an assemblage of Clovis-age scrapers from the Gault site in central Texas.


“MRI and Unilateral NMR study of reindeer skin tanning processes” by Zhu et al (2015)

Zhu, Lizheng; Del Federico, Eleonora; Ilott, Andrew J.; Klokkernes, Torunn; Kehlet, Cindie; Jerschow, Alexej, “MRI and Unilateral NMR study of reindeer skin tanning processes”, Analytical Chemistry 87(7) (2015) 3820–3825.
DOI:10.1021/ac504474e (ACS Publications, restricted access)

The study of arctic or subarctic indigenous skin clothing material, known for its design and ability to keep the body warm, provides information about the tanning materials and techniques. The study also provides clues about the culture that created it, since tanning processes are often specific to certain indigenous groups. Untreated skin samples and samples treated with willow (Salix sp) bark extract and cod liver oil are compared in this study using both MRI and unilateral NMR techniques. The two types of samples show different proton spatial distributions and different relaxation times, which may also provide information about the tanning technique and aging behavior.


“Use of aluminium alkoxide and oxazolidine II to treat acid-deteriorated historic leather” by Lama et al (2015)

Lama, Anne; Antunes, A. Paula M.; Covington, Anthony D.; Guthrie-Strachan, Jeffry; Fletcher, Yvette;“Use of aluminium alkoxide and oxazolidine II to treat acid-deteriorated historic leather”, Journal of the Institute of Conservation 38(2) (2015) 172–187.
DOI:10.1080/19455224.2015.1071713 (Taylor& Francis Online, restricted access)

This study was undertaken to develop a product that will potentially delay the progress of deterioration of acid-deteriorated historic leather. Acid-deteriorated leather samples were treated with a new formulation consisting of aluminium di(isopropoxide) acetoacetate ester chelate (aluminium alkoxide) and 5-ethyl-1-aza-3,7-dioxabicyclo[3.3.0]octane (oxazolidine II). The leather samples were also treated with oxazolidine II and aluminium alkoxide separately to compare the effectiveness of these reagents against the new formulation. Untreated leather samples were used as a negative control. Acid-deteriorated leather samples treated with Cellugel®, aluminium alkoxide and the new formulation along with corresponding untreated leather samples were also subjected to accelerated ageing in order to investigate the longevity of the treated leather. The impact of the treatments and accelerated ageing was determined by measuring the hydrothermal stability of the leather and pH of the aqueous extract. The formulation showed a potential to provide the acid-deteriorated historic leather with long-term protection against an artificially-created acidic environment.

Cette étude a été menée afin de développer un produit pouvant potentiellement retarder la progression de la détérioration du cuir ancien devenu acide. Des échantillons de cuirs acides ont été traités avec une nouvelle formule composée de chélate d'aluminium d'acétoacétate de di-isopropoxyde (alcoolate d'aluminium) et de 5-éthyl-1-aza-3,7-dioxabicyclo [3.3.0] octane (oxazolidine II). Les échantillons de cuir ont également été traités avec, séparément, de l'oxazolidine II et de l'alcoolate d'aluminium pour comparer l'efficacité de ces réactifs par rapport à la nouvelle formule. Des échantillons de cuirs non traités ont été utilisés comme témoin négatif. Des échantillons de cuirs dégradés par l'acidité traités avec du Cellugel®, de l'alcoolate d'aluminium et la nouvelle formule ainsi que des échantillons correspondant aux mêmes cuirs non traités ont été également soumis au vieillissement accéléré afin d'étudier la longévité du cuir traité. L'impact des traitements et le vieillissement accéléré ont été évalués par une mesure de la résistance du cuir à la chaleur et du pH de l'extrait aqueux. La formule a montré une capacité à fournir au cuir ancien acide une protection de long terme face à un environnement acide artificiel.


“Thermal characterization of new, artificially aged and historical leather and parchment” by Sebestyén et al (2015)

Sebestyén, Zoltán; Czégény, Zsuzsanna; Badea, Elena; Carsote, Cristina; Şendrea, Claudiu; Barta-Rajnai, Eszter; Bozi, János; Miu, Lucretia; Jakab, Emma; “Thermal characterization of new, artificially aged and historical leather and parchment”, Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis 115 (2015) pp.419–427.
DOI:10.1016/j.jaap.2015.08.022 (ScienceDirect, restricted access)

The aging mechanism of leather and parchment was studied by thermoanalytical methods to understand the effect of the environment on the historical manuscripts and the heritage of libraries and archives. Alkaline and acidic treatments followed by thermal dehydration were applied to achieve chemical changes in the structure of new leather and parchment similar to the slow natural aging of historical samples. Chemical and structural changes during both natural and artificial aging processes were characterized by thermoanalytical techniques. The thermal stability and the evolution profile of the decomposition products under slow heating were studied by thermogravimetry/mass spectrometry (TG/MS). The distribution of the decomposition products of these collagen-based materials under fast pyrolysis was characterized by pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS). It was found that the maximal rate of the thermal decomposition (DTGmax) significantly decreases by aging in case of both leather and parchment samples indicating the degree of deterioration. Py-GC/MS has been found to be a suitable technique to sensitively monitor the degradation of the polyphenolic components of the vegetable tannins under natural or artificial aging. It was established that the tannin content of leather is more significantly affected by natural aging and alkaline treatment than the main structure of the polypeptide chains. Principal component analysis (PCA) has been used to find statistical correlations between the experimental data for leather samples. The results of the PCA confirmed that the alkaline treatment and the natural aging processes similarly modify the tannin content of the vegetable tanned leather.


“Thermal analysis on historical leather bookbinding treated with PEG and hydroxyapatite nanoparticles” by Ershad-Langroudi and Mirmontahai (2015)

Ershad-Langroudi, Amir; Mirmontahai, Akram, “Thermal analysis on historical leather bookbinding treated with PEG and hydroxyapatite nanoparticles”, Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry 120(2) (2015) 1119–1127.
DOI:10.1007/s10973-015-4461-z (SpringerLink, restricted access)

Thermal analysis approaches give the opportunity to investigate structural changes in historical leather like as dehydration, crystallization, and melting process. An historical leather sample from nineteenth century was considered in this study. The leather samples were treated with a suspension of nano-hydroxyapatite and polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400) in an aqueous solution. The treatment effects on the structural changes in historical leather were studied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TG). DSC technique has been employed to study the thermal-associated changes in historical leather to an artificial aging and the conservation of nanocomposite treatment. Moreover, thermogravimetric analysis and differential thermal gravimetry (TG–DTG) are used as useful methods for the investigation of the mass losses of the treated and untreated samples at the progressive heating in N2 gas flow. Furthermore, scanning electron microscopy studies indicated the collagen fibril changes in treated sample in comparison with those of untreated sample and after accelerated aging test.


“Trois centres de ganterie : Millau, Niort, Saint-Junien" par Meynier (1934)

 Meynier, A., “Trois centres de ganterie : Millau, Niort, Saint-Junien”, Annales de Géographie 43(246) (1934) 648–652.
Doi: 10.3406/geo.1934.10752 (Persée)


Les animaux à fourrures par Kretzschmar (1923)

Kretzschmar, Charles, Les animaux à fourrures: ornée dans le texte et hors texte de 105 gravures et dessins de coupes en photogravure et en phototypie et comprenant la description des animaux et de leur pelage, la valeur et l'emploi des pelleteries, l'apprêt des peaux à fourrures, le travail du pelletier, le travail du fourreur (2e édition, revue et augmentée), Chalon-sur-Saône, Édition Ch. Kretzschmar et G. Bosselet (1923).
URL (Gallica)


“Paging through history: parchment as a reservoir of ancient DNA for next generation sequencing” by Teasdale et al (2015)

Teasdale, M. D.; van Doorn, N. L.; Fiddyment, S.; Webb, C. C.; O’Connor, T.; Hofreiter, M.; Collins, M. J.; Bradley, D. G., “Paging through history: parchment as a reservoir of ancient DNA for next generation sequencing”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Science 370(1660) (2015), p.20130379.
DOI:10.1098/rstb.2013.0379 (The Royal Society Publishing)

Parchment represents an invaluable cultural reservoir. Retrieving an additional layer of information from these abundant, dated livestock-skins via the use of ancient DNA (aDNA) sequencing has been mooted by a number of researchers. However, prior PCR-based work has indicated that this may be challenged by cross-individual and cross-species contamination, perhaps from the bulk parchment preparation process. Here we apply next generation sequencing to two parchments of seventeenth and eighteenth century northern English provenance. Following alignment to the published sheep, goat, cow and human genomes, it is clear that the only genome displaying substantial unique homology is sheep and this species identification is confirmed by collagen peptide mass spectrometry. Only 4% of sequence reads align preferentially to a different species indicating low contamination across species. Moreover, mitochondrial DNA sequences suggest an upper bound of contamination at 5%. Over 45% of reads aligned to the sheep genome, and even this limited sequencing exercise yield 9 and 7% of each sampled sheep genome post filtering, allowing the mapping of genetic affinity to modern British sheep breeds. We conclude that parchment represents an excellent substrate for genomic analyses of historical livestock.


“On Some Terms for Leatherworking in Ancient Mesopotamia" by Scurlock (2008)

Scurlock, JoAnn, “On Some Terms for Leatherworking in Ancient Mesopotamia”, in Robert D. Biggs, Jennie Myers, e Martha T. Roth (eds.), Proceedings of the 51st Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, held at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, July 18–22, 2005, Chicago, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (2008) 171–176.


Evaluation of Consolidants for the Treatment of Red Rot on Vegetable Tanned Leather by Mahony (2014)

Caitlin Carol Mahony, Evaluation of Consolidants for the Treatment of Red Rot on Vegetable Tanned Leather: The Search for a Natural Material Alternative, Master of Arts Thesis in Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, Los Angeles, University of California, 2014.

Inspired by an interest in finding both a natural material alternative as well as a successful treatment approach to powdering leather surfaces on a Native American object, a comparative study of two novel treatment materials and two established consolidants for leather with red rot was undertaken. Natural material consolidants have been demonstrated to be preferred by tribal members for use on materials other than leather. One of the materials tested as a potential consolidant was neri, an aqueous mucilage most commonly extracted from the roots of the aibika plant that is used in the traditional production of Japanese paper. The other material selected was chitosan, the main derivative of the natural polymer chitin, which has recently been applied in treatments of archaeological silk and paper. The performance of these potential materials as leather consolidants was compared against the performance of established modified organic consolidants, i.e. mixtures of Cellugel and Klucel G with the acrylic wax SC6000. The study focused on evaluating each material's consolidation performance, the visual and physical changes observed on the leather, and the chemical stability of the consolidant following heat and light aging. Although neri proved to have excellent chemical stability, it is not recommended for leather due to unavoidable water content and unsatisfactory working properties. Though chitosan had no adverse effects towards the appearance and feel of the leather, it is not recommended as a consolidant until further research is conducted on its chemical stability. The Klucel G with SC6000 mixture had great application properties but the wax component is questionable due to the opacity change of the aged wax. Cellugel demonstrated the most desirable properties in performance and chemical stability; therefore it was selected as the consolidant for the treatment on the Native American object. Experimental results indicate that the natural materials evaluated may be recommended as alternatives to synthetic consolidants following additional research.


Alterations within the structural hierarchy of parchment induced by damage mechanisms by Thomas (2009)

Katherine Thomas, Alterations within the structural hierarchy of parchment induced by damage mechanisms, PhD Thesis on Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, 2009.

Collagen plays an important role in many biological tissues, including skin, which, once dried and treated, forms parchment and leather. The structural alterations that occur in collagenous materials due to X-ray radiation damage, fluctuation of relative humidity, and mechanical deformation (with a special focus on historical parchment) are the focus of this thesis. The primary aim of this thesis is to investigate major structural changes to collagen within parchment when exposed to inappropriate levels of relative humidity during conservation treatments, and cyclic-humidity during long-term storage in archives, museums and libraries. This study led to the discovery that each parchment sample reacted to the application and removal of moisture in a different way, indicating the fundamental need to treat individual parchment documents as in-homogeneous materials. This thesis investigates the changes that fibrillar collagen undergoes and describes the creation of computational models capable of reproducing the X-ray diffraction patterns for collagen. Previous structural models have been created that sufficiently account for native collagen, however, models created as part of this thesis succeed where previous models have failed in explaining the X-ray diffraction patterns collected from damaged collagen. This study provided the opportunity to contribute towards a large-scale international collaborative project on the hugely important historical resource, the Domesday Book. X-ray diffraction was used to provide unprecedented analysis of Domesday Book samples, providing a structural survey at a molecular level. This analysis produced the conclusion that the majority of samples displayed the presence of collagen axial structure, and were generally of a degraded state as a consequence of the method used to source them the samples were scrapings from the surface, which was less intact than the bulk of the parchment.


“Boîtes en peau non tannée”, dans Encyclopédie berbère, par Dudot (1991)

Dudot, B., “Boîtes en peau non tannée”, in Gabriel Camps (ed.), Encyclopédie berbère 10, Aix-en-Provence, Éditions Édisud (1991) pp. 1559–1563.
URL (Revues.org)  


“Les boîtes en cuir moulé du Soudan” par Zeltner (1932)

Zeltner, F. de, “Les boîtes en cuir moulé du Soudan”, Journal de la Société des Africanistes 2 (1-2) (1932) pp. 23–34.
Doi:10.3406/jafr.1932.1520 (Persée)


"Cuirs et peaux", dans Encyclopédie berbère, par Gast (1994)

Gast, M., “Cuirs et peaux”, in Gabriel Camps (ed.), Encyclopédie berbère 14, Aix-en-Provence, Éditions Édisud (1994) pp. 2144–2153.
URL (Revues.org)


Traité pratique de la fabrication des cuirs et du travail des peaux par Villon (1889)

Villon, A.-M., Traité pratique de la fabrication des cuirs et du travail des peaux: tannage, corroyage, hongroyage, mégisserie, chamoiserie, parcheminerie, cuirs vernis, maroquins, fourrures, courroies, selles, équipements militaires, harnais, théorie du tannage, statistique des cuirs et des peaux, Paris, Librairie Polytechnique (1889).
URL (Internet Archive/ Getty Research Institute)


Textes sur cuir et peau dans l'oeuvre L'alun de Méditerranée (2005)

The book L’alun de Méditerranée, edited by Philippe Borgard, Jean-Pierre Brun and Maurice Picon, published in 2005 by the Centre Jean Bérard, was recently made available on line through OpenEdition Books. Some of the texts describe the use of alum to preserve animal skins (tawing, mégissage, hongroyage, concia). The authors and the titles are as follows:

- Cheryl Porter,
“The use of Alum in the preparation of tawed skin for book covers in the 11th – 15th centuries: advantages and disadvantages for the book structure”, pp. 293–298.

- Claire Chahine,
“L’utilisation de l’alun dans la transformation de la peau en cuir”, pp. 299–309.

- Eva Halasz Csiba,
"Le cuir de Hongrie en France entre les XIVe et XVIIIe siècles: Histoire et problématique d’un transfert technique basé sur l’usage de l’alun", pp. 311-322.

- Fulvia Lo Schiavo,
"La concia delle pelli nella Sardegna nuragica: un problema aperto", pp. 343-352.


"Unmasking the measles-like parchment discoloration: molecular and microanalytical approach” by Piñar et al (2015)

Piñar, Guadalupe; Sterflinger, Katja; Pinzari, Flavia, “Unmasking the measles-like parchment discoloration: molecular and microanalytical approach”, Environmental Microbiology 17(2) (2015) 427–443.
DOI:10.1111/1462-2920.12471 / PDF

Many ancient parchments are defaced by red or purple maculae associated with localized destruction of collagen fibres. Although the main characteristics of this damage were present in most of the manuscripts analysed by many authors, no common microbial or fungal denominator has been found so far, and little or no correspondence between the microbial or fungal species isolated from materials could be addressed. In this study, culture-independent molecular methods and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to identify fungal and bacterial communities on parchments affected by the purple stains. Protocols for c extraction and nucleic-acid-based strategies were selected for assays examining the community structure of fungi and bacteria on biodeteriorated parchment. Both SEM and molecular analysis detected the presence of bacterial and fungal cells in the damaged areas. Halophilic, halotolerant proteolytic bacterial species were selected by the saline environment provided by the parchment samples. As common microbial denominators, members of the Actinobacteria, mainly Saccharopolyspora spp. and species of Aspergillus, were detected in all investigated cases. It is proposed that a relationship exists between the phenomenon of purple spots on ancient parchments and that of the ‘red heat’ phenomenon, known to be present in some products manufactured with marine salt.


“Les chinoiseries dans les cuirs dorés des Pays-Bas du Sud” par Donders (2009)

Donders, Pascal; “Les chinoiseries dans les cuirs dorés des Pays-Bas du Sud”, in Jacques Marx e Brigitte D’Hainaut-Zveny (eds.), Etudes sur le XVIIIe siècle: Formes et figures du goût chinois dans les anciens Pays-Bas, vol. XXXVII, Bruxelles, Editions de Université de Bruxelles (2009) 215-220.


"Expandable polyester hinges for parchment mounting..." by Duqueyroix et al (2015)

Duqueyroix, Nadège; Robinet, Laurianne; Barbe, Coralie, “Expandable polyester hinges for parchment mounting performance in fluctuating environmental conditions”, Journal of Paper Conservation 16(1) (2015) 18–28.
DOI:10.1179/1868086015Z.0000000002 (Maney Online)

The high hygroscopicity and heterogeneity of parchment make it particularly sensitive to fluctuating environmental conditions. Due to this, the final housing of an artwork on parchment, including mounting, should aim to mitigate the impact of the fluctuations on the object. The conservation of two navigation maps painted on parchment from the Musée national de la Marine, Paris raised the question of finding an appropriate mounting method. Flexible mounting techniques that adapt to the movement of parchment have been developed by conservators in the past, but their behaviour and efficiency in a fluctuating environment have not been observed or tested. This study focuses on the expandable polyester hinges method developed at the Victoria and Albert Museum and evaluates the safety and performance of this mounting technique in fluctuating environmental conditions. We explore an alternative way of manufacturing reproducible hinges using laser cutting.
The elongation capacity and breaking point of the hinge are assessed. Mounted and unmounted parchment samples are exposed to different levels of relative humidity (RH) (from 9 to 75%), and their dimensions and distortions are recorded and compared. Mounting with expandable polyester hinges maintains the parchment in a reasonably flat condition and prevents the appearance of distortions. At 9% RH, it even seems to restrain the dimensional variations of the parchment. We observe that the more hinges are used for mounting, the more flat the parchment remains. We successfully apply this mounting technique to the two navigation maps. The study demonstrates that the expandable polyester hinge method is safe and efficient in mitigating the impact of humidity fluctuations on parchment.


“Red stains on archaeological leather..." by Koochakzaei & Achachluei (2015)

Koochakzaei, Alireza; Achachluei, Mohsen Mohammadi; “Red stains on archaeological leather: degradation characteristics of a shoe from the 11th–13th centuries (Seljuk period, Iran)”, Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 54(1) (2015) 45–56.
DOI: 10.1179/1945233014Y.0000000033 (Maney Online, restricted access)

In 2006 several valuable leather objects were found during archaeological excavation of Ghalee-Kooh-i Ghaen (a historic stronghold from the Seljuk period, 11th–13th centuries) in the South Khorasan province of Iran. When examined after 5 years, there were red stains on the remnants of a shoe with poor strength and powdery surface similar to red rot decay. Since red rot is more common in manufactured leathers from the mid-19th century, the purpose of this research was to clarify the structural features and degradation factors responsible for red stains on the shoe. Chemical spot tests, isolation and identification of fungi, pH measurements, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy were used to achieve these aims. These measurement results corresponded to lime depilation, tanning with alum and vegetable tannins, and the possible use of CuSO4 as a preservative of skin in leather-making process. Cladosporium sp. and Penicillium sp. were isolated from the shoe, but Trichophyton sp. was characterized as the main biodeterioration factor. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and pH measurements indicated hydrolysis and acidic degradation of the leather. The characteristics of the red stains were similar to those exhibited by red rot. Therefore, archaeological leathers tanned with alum and vegetable tannins may be exposed to acidic degradation like red rot decay.


“Analytical techniques used for the characterization and authentification of six ancient religious manuscripts (XVIII–XIX centuries)” by Vornicu et al (2015)

Vornicu, Nicoleta; Deselnicu, Viorica; Bibire, Cristina; Ivanov, Daniela; Doroftei, Florica; “Analytical techniques used for the characterization and authentification of six ancient religious manuscripts (XVIII–XIX centuries)”, Microscopy Research and Technique 78(1) (2015) 70–84.
DOI: 10.1002/jemt.22447 (Wiley Online Library)

This article presents the experimental results of a research on six manuscripts (three of the XVIII century and three of XIX century) belonging collection of old religious books to the Moldovan Metropolitan Church of Romania. Non-invasive techniques (optical microscopy [OM], scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray system, X-ray fluorescence analysis, shrinkage temperature, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy/attentuated total reflectance) provided information on the degree of degradation and identification of the leather bookbinding type. Moreover, visual assessment and OM revealed the extent of the surface degradation (wane, biological attack, change color, etc.). The degradation extent of the skin bindings was determined on the 12 samples. The insight on the mechanism of degradation was accomplished by analyzing the deterioration of collagen fibers in terms of shrinkage temperature and chemical modifications induced by oxidative and hydrolytic processes. Shrinkage temperature values were lower compared with the literature data for collagen, indicating that the leather bookbinding suffered intrinsic damage. Morphological analysis was accomplished by microscopy and allowed the identification of skin type and provided information about its processing technique. Mineral elements were identified for leather composition and contributed to the information regarding the origin and the extent of degradation of the leather bookbinding, of the studied manuscripts. The analyzed results were useful in determining the state of preservation and were able to provide an increased efficiency of further restoration. The correlation of the obtained data brought new contributions to the knowledge of the leather covers for the book technique in the XVIII and XIX centuries in monastic workshops of Eastern Europe.


Museu de l'Art de la Pell, Vic (España)

Museu de l'Art de la Pell (MAP)

El MAP acull una magnífica col·lecció d’objectes elaborats amb pell. Les peces de gran riquesa artística, mostren una gran varietat de tècniques del treball de la pell (gravat, ferratjat, gofrat, calat, repujat, emmotllat, brodat, etc). Destaquen les realitzades amb la tècnica del guadamassil (pell de moltó daurada i policromada) utilitzada per a la confecció de revestiments murals, frontals d’altar, paravents, etc… També cal remarcar l’aplicació del cordovà (pell de cabra de gran qualitat) en el recobriment d’arquetes i caixes.


“Couros Dourados / Guadamecis dos Países Baixos em Portugal (Séculos XVII e XVIII)” por Pereira (2015)

Pereira, Franklin; “Couros Dourados / Guadamecis dos Países Baixos em Portugal (Séculos XVII e XVIII)”, Al-Madan Online 19(2) (IIa Série) (2015) pp. 117–132.
URL (Issuu)

Nos séculos XVII e XVIII, Portugal recebeu guadamecis relevados por prensa provenientes dos Países Baixos. Estes rectângulos de “couros dourados” em estilo barroco e rococó foram utilizados em frontais de altar, estofos e biombos, e encontram-se espalhados por colecções particulares, igrejas e museus. O autor apresenta estudo comparado dos modelos conhecidos nessa técnica ornamental em couro. Considera ainda algumas imitações e as influências estéticas em estofos em couro lavrado executados em Portugal.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Portugal received machine-pressed gilt leather (guadamecis) from the Netherlands. These rectangles in Baroque and Rococo style were used on altar fronts, upholstery and screens. They can be found in private collections, churches and museums. The author presents a comparative study of the known models of this leather decoration technique. He also refers to some imitations and to the aesthetical influences on leather upholstery made in Portugal.


"Species identification of archaeological skin objects from Danish bogs" by Brandt et al (2014)

Brandt, Luise Ørsted; Schmidt, Anne Lisbeth; Mannering, Ulla; Sarret, Mathilde; Kelstrup, Christian D.; Olsen, Jesper V.; et al., “Species Identification of Archaeological Skin Objects from Danish Bogs: Comparison between Mass Spectrometry-Based Peptide Sequencing and Microscopy-Based Methods”, PLoS ONE 9(9) (2014) p. e106875.

Denmark has an extraordinarily large and well-preserved collection of archaeological skin garments found in peat bogs, dated to approximately 920 BC – AD 775. These objects provide not only the possibility to study prehistoric skin costume and technologies, but also to investigate the animal species used for the production of skin garments. Until recently, species identification of archaeological skin was primarily performed by light and scanning electron microscopy or the analysis of ancient DNA. However, the efficacy of these methods can be limited due to the harsh, mostly acidic environment of peat bogs leading to morphological and molecular degradation within the samples. We compared species assignment results of twelve archaeological skin samples from Danish bogs using Mass Spectrometry (MS)-based peptide sequencing, against results obtained using light and scanning electron microscopy. While it was difficult to obtain reliable results using microscopy, MS enabled the identification of several species-diagnostic peptides, mostly from collagen and keratins, allowing confident species discrimination even among taxonomically close organisms, such as sheep and goat. Unlike previous MS-based methods, mostly relying on peptide fingerprinting, the shotgun sequencing approach we describe aims to identify the complete extracted ancient proteome, without preselected specific targets. As an example, we report the identification, in one of the samples, of two peptides uniquely assigned to bovine foetal haemoglobin, indicating the production of skin from a calf slaughtered within the first months of its life. We conclude that MS-based peptide sequencing is a reliable method for species identification of samples from bogs. The mass spectrometry proteomics data were deposited in the ProteomeXchange Consortium with the dataset identifier PXD001029.


Leather and parchment communications at CRCC50 International Conference, Paris (2013)

"Cultural heritage conservation science and sustainable development: experience, research, innovation", International conference in the frame of the 50th anniversary of the Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections - CRCC50, held at Paris, 23-25 October 2013

Oral communications on leather and parchment:
- Claire Chahine
"Le cuir: enjeux pour la conservation et l'environnement"
Video presentation (URL)

- Elena Badea
"Identification of environmentally sensitive archival parchment for lower energy storage"
Video presentation (URL)


“La préparation de la peau du renne chez les Lapons de Kautokeino” par Roué et Delaporte (1978)

Roué, Michèle; Delaporte, Yves; “La préparation de la peau du renne chez les Lapons de Kautokeino”, Journal d’agriculture traditionnelle et de botanique appliquée 25(4) (1978), pp. 219–244.
URL / PDF (Persée)


A text-book of tanning by Procter (1885)

Procter, H. R.; A text-book of tanning: a treatise on the conversion of skins into leather, both practical and theoretical, London, Strand (1885).
URL / PDF (Internet Archive/Getty Research Institute)


COLLAGE Project website

Intelligent system for the analysis and diagnosis of collagen based artefacts

COLLAGE is a Romanian Joint Applied Research Project (Project No. 224/2012) carried out in the PN-II-PT-PCCA Programme and funded by the Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation (UEFISCDI). The project is aiming at developing and modify existing techniques for the analysis of collagen-based historical materials and objects to achieve both high accuracy and micro- or non-invasivity characteristics requested in the evaluation of cultural heritage.


Skin Clothing from the North, edited by Schmidt & Pedersen (2010)

Anne Lisbeth Schmidt and Karen Brynjolf Pedersen (ed.); Skin Clothing from the North, Abstracts from the seminar held at the National Museum of Denmark, November 26-27, 2009, Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark (2010)

A brief description about the "Skin Clothing from the North" Project (2009-2012) can be read here.