Sonderforschungsbereich 950

Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe

manuscript of the month

Scroll Or.8210/S.3877, recto.

The Grave Side of Fengshui

Given the popularity of fengshui nowadays, it is easy for most of us to assume that its sole purpose is to help create a harmonious house, office or garden by bringing positive energy to a space. The term literally translates as ‘wind-and-water’ and has entered our common vocabulary to denote the general qualities of an environment. It was actually coined in the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) to describe an important form of divination rooted in China’s long tradition of geomancy, which also dealt with the location of gravesites and the orientation of tombs. A manuscript in the British Library’s Stein Collection, produced during the late ninth and early tenth centuries, offers fascinating insights into the development of these practices.


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Job vacancies at the Cluster of Excellence

Following the approval of the Cluster of Excellence “Understanding Written Artefacts” Universität Hamburg invites applications for 55 new positions for research associates. The initial fixed term is three years. The application deadline is 16 November 2018.
Further information and calls for applications

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 Petra Kappert Fellows at CSMC

Dr. Marilena Maniaci is full professor of Paleography at the Università degli studi di Cassino e del Lazio meridionale since 2008. Her research interests focus on the history of Greek and Latin handwritten book materials and techniques and the development of appropriate methods of analysis and description of medieval manuscripts. She will stay at CSMC until the end of November 2018.
PD Dr. Patrick Andrist is a researcher at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. He is a specialist for biblical history and the history of the book, codicology and religious polemics in antiquity. He is project manager of the ERC research project: “ParaTexBib: Paratexts of the Bible, Analysis and Edition of the Greek Textual Transmission” in Munich.

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).


27 September 2018 - 6 January 2019 | Exhibition

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

30 November - 1 December 2018 | Workshop
Titles, Labels, and Names of Multiple Text Manuscripts
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

30 November - 1 December 2018 | Conference

Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach in seiner Zeit – Wissen und Gelehrtenkultur um 1700

CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

7 - 8 December 2018 | Workshop
Schriftbildlichkeit. Scripts and their Framing

CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

7 December 2018 6.15pm | Keynote Lecture
Prof. Dr. Bruno Reudenbach
University of Hamburg
Invisible Script, Illegible Letters. Decorated Pages in Early Medieval Liturgical Books
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001

13 - 15 December 2018 | Workshop
Chinese Paper as Writing Support: Terminology and Standards

Details and Registration
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26

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

21 - 22 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