Sonderforschungsbereich 950

Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe

manuscript of the month

Manuscript yi (已) 401, Capital Library
of China

A Friend of a Lifetime:
On Yu Boya smashes his zither to mourn a dear friend, a youth book

What is friendship at its depths, and who is a true friend? When one has found the friend of a lifetime, how is one to confront the inevitable parting which comes at the end of the mortal life? These are questions which a young man from early 19th century Beijing, inspired by a tale of two friends from Chinese antiquity, came to ruminate on in a special copy he made of a book he bought, Yu Boya smashes his zither to mourn a dear friend. What was the story he read, and how did it come to touch his heart? What can the manuscript, sprinkled with his notes and commentaries, tell us today about his world as a reader?


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Cluster of Excellence for Hamburg’s research on manuscripts!

Researchers of the CSMC and from other institutions have been successful with their proposal within the Excellence Strategy: the DFG approved of the Cluster „Understanding Written Artefacts“, which will commence in January 2019.

New Franco-German collaboration project at CSMC

Emmanuel Francis (CNRS-CEIAS, Paris) and Eva Wilden (CSMC) have just received a collaborative ANR-DFG grant for three years, scheduled to start in March 2019. Under the title TST: “Texts Surrounding Texts – Satellite Stanzas, Prefaces and Colophons in South-Indian Manuscripts (collections of the Paris BnF and Hamburg Stabi)” they will bring together a team of international specialists in order to catalogue and do research on the two named collections of South-Indian palm-leaf manuscripts, the former predominantly in Tamil, the latter predominantly in Sanskrit.

New volume of the series Studies in Manuscript Cultures (SMC)

Pasquale Orsini describes in Studies on Greek and Coptic Majuscule Scripts and Books (SMC 15) features of the different graphic phenomena within their contexts by addressing questions like where, when, by whom and for which purpose the individual witnesses were produced. The comparative approach tackles problems and limits of the palaeographical methodology and allows to identify common issues relevant also to other manuscript cultures. SMC 15 is available via open access. The first review can be read here

Exhibition at the the State and University Library Hamburg:
Hidden for two thousand years, serving as model today. The art of writing of Chen Songchang and Zhu Yongling

The two contemporary Chinese artists Chen Songzhang and Zhu Yongling draw on traditional Chinese characters which they reuse in a playful, intelligent way. The artists create new relationships between elements of the text’s layout and create novel forms of interaction between characters. The exhibition is open from 27 September 2018 to 06 January 2019. It is a collaborative undertaking by the State and University Library Hamburg, Carl von Ossietzky, and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC) at the University of Hamburg. A richly illustrated catalogue will be published in the series Manuscript Cultures of CSMC.
The opening ceremony will be at the State and University Library Hamburg on 26 September 2018, 6pm.

New volume of the journal manuscripts cultures published

Volume 11 of manuscript cultures includes contributions to the 2nd conference ‘Natural Sciences and Technology in Manuscript Analysis’ that took place at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC) in 2016 and also some related studies by CSMC projects.

BMBF supports research association

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the three-year joint project ‘Coloured Maps’ (‘Kolorierte Landkarten’), beginning on 1 August 2018. The project involves the CSMC (Prof. Dr. Oliver Hahn) and the Mineralogical Museum, CeNak, (Prof. Dr. Jochen Schlüter), University of Hamburg, the Stiftung Hanseatisches Wirtschaftsarchiv (Kathrin Enzel) and the Museum am Rothenbaum in Hamburg (Dr. Susanne Knödel). Applying methods from the material sciences and with art- and cultural-historical approaches, the group analyses hand-drawn and hand-coloured maps from European and East Asian areas, produced between the 15th and the 20th centuries.

New research on organic writing supports at CSMC

Prof. Dr. Markus Fischer, member of CSMC, and colleagues published a new study on materials science research on paper and palm leafs. The study is part of the network ‘Artefact Profiling’ for enhancing research on written artefacts. The network comprises the Hamburg School of Food Science (HSFS), the Institute of Wood Science, the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC), the Institute for Mineralogy and Petrography and the Institute of Advanced Ceramics at the Hamburg University of Technology.

Handwriting Analysis Tool published

The “Handwriting Analysis Tool (HAT 2)” is a software tool to analyse handwriting styles. Known and unknown hands can be analysed by automatically comparing digital images of manuscripts. The software, developed at CSMC by Hussein Mohammed, can be downloaded and used for free under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC).


31 January 2019 6pm | Lecture
Dr. Annick Payne
University of Bern
Hieroglyphs from Anatolia
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001

22 - 23 February 2019 | Workshop
Prophetic Traditions Materialized: Dimensions of Hadith Manuscripts
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

25 February - 1 March 2019 | Workshop
Winter School on Cuneiform Culture

Details and Registration
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

10 - 15 March 2019 | Summer School
Summer School manuSciences '19
In cooperation with the CSMC & BAM, the PSL Research University (France) organizes the German-French Summer School manuSciences '19
Le CAES du CNRS, la Villa Clythia, Frejus, France.
Details and application

22 - 23 March 2019 | Workshop
Bon Manuscripts
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

8 - 10 April 2019 | Workshop
Texts Surrounding Texts
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

11 April 2019 6pm | Lecture
Dr. Jan-Ulrich Sobisch
Ruhr University of Bochum
The Paris Manuscript of the Single Intention (dGongs gcig), a Groundbreaking Trove
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001

18 April 2019 6pm | Lecture
Prof. Dr. Claudia Rapp w.M. FBA
University of Vienna
The Monastery of Saint Catherine in the Sinai and its Palimpsests
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001

9 May 2019 6pm | Lecture
Prof. Dr. Marilena Maniaci
University of Cassino and Southern Lazio
Codicology of the Scroll
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001