art playground

2nd century—Mayans

Bookbinding, Miniatures, Writing and Paper

2nd century—Mayans using plant-based writing material similar to papyrus – “nuatle” – smoother and more durable than papyrus (Central America)

This post is part of an ongoing series on bookbinding, miniatures, writing and paper since the year 1.

2nd Century – Nag Hammadi

Bookbinding, Miniatures, Paper and Writing

100 – 199 CE (2nd century) — Nag Hammadi codices written on papyrus – Gnostic treatises written in Coptic, probably translated from Greek

In the 1st century most codices were made from a single quire (section/signature/gathering) of papyrus with a limp leather cover. A common attachment from the block to the cover was thong tackets made from leather and knotted on the inside of the fold. Leather wrapping bands were a common closure.

1st Century: Palm Leaf Books

Before 1st c – Palm leaf books developed in India – Religious sutras were copied onto palm leaves (cut into 2, lengthwise) with a metal stylus. The leaf was dried and rubbed with ink. Finished leaves and cover boards were threaded onto 2 long pieces of twine. Twine was wrapped around book when closed. Buddhist monks took idea through Persia, Afghanistan and Iran to China in first century BCE

1st Century: Calligraphy

From 1st c — Roman Rustic script is standard book hand of Empire (replacing Roman Square Capital)

1st Century

1st c (probable) – Earliest codex (estimate). Fragments exist from 1st and 2nd c, but earliest surviving codices date from 3rd c. The word “codex” is Latin (from “caudex”) for the trunk of a tree. (Coptic Christian Egypt)

Timelines are fascinating; they help you to compare what was going on in one place at the same time as what was going on in another, you can plot how a particular technology developed through time, or you can see how it moved around the world as more countries adopted it. As a lover of ancient and medieval history I use my timelines as learning tools and I refer to them frequently. Bits of them often end up in class handouts and instruction.

Beginning in 2007 I started keeping timelines on 4 topics and I add to them as I come across items of particular interest while I’m reading:

Bookbinding, Miniatures, Paper and Writing
Metal and Smithing
Gemstones and Glass

In an effort to spread my love of bookbinding, miniatures, paper and writing (calligraphy) I’m going to be posting my timeline entries onto my blog. I hope that you will start your own timeline and incorporate my entries if they are relevant to your timeline subjects.


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