Encyclopedia of
Manuscript Cultures in Asia and Africa

Chief Editors: M. Friedrich, H. Isaacson, J. B. Quenzer
Area Editors:
East Asia: M. Friedrich, J. B. Quenzer
South and South East Asia: H. Isaacson, V. Grabowsky
West Asia and Africa: T. Seidensticker, F. Déroche, Ph. Jaggar, D. Bondarev


The manuscript medium was a constituent part of many cultures and had a long-lasting influence on them. In both Asia and Africa, manuscript cultures have also been significant right up to the recent past, while some are still important even today. With the 'Encyclopaedia of Manuscript Cultures in Asia and Africa', an historic and systematic overview will be presented for the first time, which will enable both a comparison with the Western European book culture and the creation of a new basis for the current discussions in the fields of media, art and literature studies.

In the pipeline: 3 volumes with a DVD and access rights to a glossary, specialist bibliographies and a comprehensive image archive on the internet.

Volume I: Introduction. Histories of Manuscript Cultures

The subject, methodical considerations (definitions, etc.), layout of the work; introductions to the history of the culture; the status of research for the individual cultures and the current, local discussion in the respective cultures. These macro-articles should also be accessible for non-specialists and references to entries will be contained in Volume III. The articles contain further reading in Western languages (bibliographies on DVD/internet).

Volume II: Manuscript Cultures in Comparison

Contributions to systematic categories, such as the library, scribe, writing implement, writing support, etc. with sections on the individual manuscript cultures.

Volume III: Dictionary of Manuscript Cultures

The entries should primarily contain specialist information, and also include entries on the important people and works for the respective manuscript cultures, as well as short definitions of key terminology (aligned to the glossary, see below).


A glossary accessible on the internet will explain the key terms of the respective manuscript cultures and relates them to the Western European ones. The language of reference will be English.

First meeting of the editors: 16 October 2007
Publisher: de Gruyter, Berlin
Image just for illustration