SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

When Paper was Gold: Gift-Giving, Material Reuse, and the Timurid Book Arts

Yusen Yu

Date: 5 December 2019Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 5 December 2019Time: 7:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Room 4426

Type of Event: Seminar

When Paper was Gold

Abstract: As gift of diplomacy, the Chinese gold-decorated paper in the Timurid court collection testified the exchange between the Timurids and Ming China in the post-Mongol era. These papers, sprinkled, flecked and/or painted in lavish gold, were used as writing grounds for manuscripts. The new fashion soon spread to the Turkmen realm in the western part of Iran and beyond. Based on archival and codicological researches, my paper offers observations on the relationship between Chinese gold-decorated paper and the aesthetics of manuscripts in the 15th-century Central Asia and Iran. Linking the gold paper to the traditional use of gold in the Islamic manuscript production, the main concern of my study lies in the reception of the new shining Chinese materials in the existing Islamic and Turco-Persian aesthetic contexts.

Convened by Professor Anna Contadini