Sonderforschungsbereich 950

Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe

08/2014manuscript of the month

Of Travels and Travails in Blank Spaces:
The Fate of Ioan of Kratovo’s Four Gospels

Ioan of Kratovo’s Four Gospels
(HACI 34, fol. 10a)

This well-preserved Church Slavonic version of the Four Gospels (HACI 34) copied in 1562 has always been a very valuable object. Not only is it rich in art produced by the famous Orthodox calligrapher and illuminator Ioan of Kratovo (fl. 1526–1583), but the manuscript is thickly clad in precious metals; the binding alone, which is silver and gold-plated, weighs 14 kilogrammes. We can partially reconstruct the story of this manuscript from the various notes that are to be found in its margins. Some of these marginal accounts are written in rough handwriting; it is surprising that such a beautiful book, which once commanded sacral powers, is littered with childish scrawls. There is a particularly interesting contrast where a luxuriously illuminated page is bordered by an inscription that was added by someone called Petre, who apparently belonged to a family of boza-sellers (boza was a fermented beverage popular in the Balkans during the Ottoman period). How did the rude handwriting of a boza-seller find its place in this ceremonial book, whose handling was the privilege of the clergy?


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Conference: Manuscripts and Archives
19 - 22 November 2014

Archives are collections of administrative, legal, commercial and other records or the space where they are located. The archive is traditionally considered the counterpart of the library, the one storing records, the other housing literary works or “books”. There is evidence, however, that this institutional division of labour is neither natural nor necessary, but reflects certain historical and social constellations. The conference will explore the complex topic of the archive in a historical, systematic and comparative dimension and try to contextualise it in the broader context of manuscript cultures.

Participation in the conference is free of charge and visitors are welcome. Please register.

Guardian of the Manuscripts from Timbuktu visited CSMC

Dr. Abdel Kader Haїdara visited CSMC on 7-8 October 2014 to discuss further measures for safeguarding the famous Manuscripts from Timbuktu. Dr. Haїdara arrived from Berlin, where the Federal Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier had presented him the German Africa Award of the renowned German Africa Foundation in recognition of his tremendous and continuing efforts for the rescue of this important West African cultural heritage. During his visit Dr. Haїdara not only met with researchers from the centre, but also with the Hamburg Senator for Science and Research, Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, and the Honorary Consul of Mali in Hamburg, Mrs. Bettina Rhensius-Krohn.
Press release of 1.10.2014
Article from the Uni HH Newsletter October 2014

CSMC Awarded a Million Euros for Timbuktu Project

Having successfully completed a 12-month pilot phase, CSMC’s project entitled ‘Safeguarding the Manuscripts from Timbuktu’ is to be funded for five more years with the support of the German Foreign Office and the Gerda Henkel Foundation. CSMC has come to an agreement with Dr Abdel Kader Haïdara, chairman of the NGO 'SAVAMA-DCI' and the person who rescued the manuscripts, which also envisages close co-operation with other financiers and donors such as the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. The prime objective of the international effort is to rescue the manuscripts from new threats caused by completely different climatic conditions and problematic storage conditions: they need to be taken out of the densely packed boxes in which they were transported to Bamako, and to be stored in an appropriate building in accordance with conservationists’ standards. The project will continue to be run by Dr Dmitry Bondarev, who is currently its scientific co-ordinator.


25 November 2014 11 am | Informal Talk
Prof Amy McNair
University of Kansas
Copying and Transcribing
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 2002

25 November 2014 6pm | Lecture Series
China Time 2014
Prof Dr Amy McNair
University of Kansas
“Death by Transcription? A Letter by Yan Zhenqing (709-785)”
Writing as Art - Calligraphy in China and in the West
House of Photography, Deichtorstraße 1-2

27 November 2014 6pm | Lecture
Dr Máire Ní Mhaonaigh
University of Cambridge
When Worlds Combine: Medieval Irish Manuscripts and Their Intellectual Milieu
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

2 December 2014, 6pm | Lecture Series
China Time 2014
Prof. Dr. Claus Peter Haase
Freie Universität Berlin
Kalligraphie der arabischen Schrift – künstlerische Entfaltung und dogmatische Beschränkung
Writing as Art - Calligraphy in China and in the West
House of Photography, Deichtorstraße 1-2

6 January 2015 6pm | Lecture Series
China Time 2014
Prof. Dr. Stephan Müller, Universität Wien
„Performative Schreibakte. Über Schrift als Handlungsform in abendländischen mittelalterlichen Handschriften“
Writing as Art - Calligraphy in China and in the West
House of Photography, Deichtorstraße 1-2

16-17 January 2015 | Workshop
China Time 2014
Worldwide Calligraphy
Writing as Art - Calligraphy in China and in the West
Participation is free, please register online.
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

16 January 2015 |
Panel Discussion: Kalligraphie Global
China Time 2014
Worldwide Calligraphy
Writing as Art - Calligraphy in China and in the West
House of Photography, Deichtorstraße 1-2

22 January 2015 6pm | Lecture
Father Columba Stewart, OSB, DPhil
Saint John's University, USA
Activities of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

29 January 2015 6pm | Lecture
Prof Dr Imke Mendoza
University of Salzburg
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

30-31 January 2015 | Workshop
Ordering Knowledge: Structuring, Listing and Shelving Manuscripts
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26