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Scheglova O. Lithograph Versions of Persian Manuscripts of Indian Manufacture in the Nineteenth Century // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 5, No 1, March 1999. P. 12-22.

It is a commonly known fact that the early-print book invariably reproduced the form of its manuscript copy. This is true of lithographs as well. The basic method of lithographic printing is that a manuscript text or design was drawn on a smooth surface of specially prepared limestone treated so that special ink or paint adhered only to the text or design to be printed on paper with the help of a simple press. The very method was invented in Germany in 1798 and spread throughout Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1816, a lithographic press started to be employed in the printing-office of the Russian General Staff. However, both in Europe and in Russia, lithographic printing remained a subsidiary method of book printing, employed mostly as a means of reproducing works of art.

The lithographic printing, however, took a different turn in Muslim lands, though not everywhere. The Arabs and Turks, who had earlier adopted type-set book printing, recognized the virtues of lithography only partly. As concerns Iran and India, the lithographic method of multiplying texts was phenomenally successful, and producing type-set books was forgotten for several decades. In Iran, a traditional attachment to calligraphy had that effect that lithographic printing took rapid growth. As for India, an additional factor was that lithographic printing permitted the simultaneous production of works in several languages. Nevertheless, lithographic printing did not supersede the traditional method of manuscript production. In Iran and India, for the entire nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, Persian lithographic and manuscript books coexisted…


The entire paper


Manuscripta Orientalia, selected papers
Persian lithographic books
Persian Manuscripts

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