Conservation Lecture: Kristine Rose-Beers on Rebinding the Ruzbihan Qur’an

Post Date:
Mar 8, 2023

Date: March 22, 2023

Time: 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Location: Stauffer Library, Room 014          


Type: Free Public Lecture

A reception with light refreshments will follow the lecture.


Please RSVP here.


The lecture, Rebinding the Ruzbihan Qur’an: contemporary considerations for the conservation of bound Islamic manuscript material , will focus on the final stages of a six-year project to research and conserve the spectacular Ruzbihan Qur’an (CBL Is 1558). Made in Shiraz in the mid-16th century, this manuscript represents the pinnacle of Safavid manuscript production.

Disbound in 2012 to facilitate conservation, the Ruzbihan Qur’an became the centre of an international research project, including non-invasive material analysis in collaboration with the IPERION-CH Mobile Laboratory (MOLAB) initiative. It was the subject of a focused exhibition in 2016 and a dedicated monograph by Elaine Wright entitled Lapis and Gold, Exploring Chester Beatty’s Ruzbihan Qur’an  was published in 2018. The monograph includes a chapter of in-depth discussion by Ms. Rose-Beers on the scientific analysis of the manuscript’s palette, and discoveries made while examining the manuscript under high magnification. A review by The Irish Times lauded the book as “the most detailed and comprehensive study of any Islamic manuscript to date.” 

This presentation  will address contemporary conservation thinking and practice in relation to the treatment of Islamic manuscript material. Looking specifically at the authors’ published treatment in 2006, the conservation of the Ruzbihan Qur’an offers an opportunity to reflect on developments in the field of Islamic manuscript conservation over the past 17 years. The refinement of treatment methodologies, as well as the challenges of working with diverse stakeholders including curators, interns and scientists, will be considered.

The decision to disbind museum objects remains a contentious subject, and yet it happens frequently. As digitisation is now a primary demand on collections, does it entail a more rigorous treatment approach to the codex, or do bound objects simply return to their box to die once their digital surrogate is created?  The Ruzbihan Qur’an offers a case study through which the best approach to reinstating historic bindings can be discussed, along with the challenges of preserving Islamic manuscript material in current conservation practice.

Kristine Rose-Beers ACR is Head of Conservation at the Chester Beatty in Dublin, Ireland, and an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation (ICON). She specialises in the conservation of Islamic manuscript material, with particular interest in the importance of materiality and codicology to contemporary conservation solutions. Kristine has taught and lectured internationally, and is a regular tutor at the Montefiascone Project in Italy. She is also a member of the Institute of Conservator-Restorers in Ireland (ICRI) and the Kairouan Manuscript Project (KMP).

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