SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

Mr Jasdip Singh Dhillon

  • Research


Jasdip Singh Dhillon
Mr Jasdip Singh Dhillon
Email address:
Thesis title:
Changes beyond the surface: Tracking the relationship between paper-making and human change in the Indus river basin region from 1000-1947 through a study of historical paper specimens
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Jasdip Singh Dhillon is a library and archives conservator at the Oxford Conservation Consortium. In addition to working at the consortium, he takes a deep interest in the history of South Asian manuscripts and printed books, especially those originating from the Sikh tradition. As part of this, he helps run a charitable organisation called Pothi Seva for the conservation of Sikh religious books and manuscripts. As well as documenting the history of the Sikh codex, he is also especially interested in researching South Asian paper-making and this has led to the formulation of his thesis.

PhD Research

This project will examine how changes in South Asian papermaking reflect wider processes of historical change by correlating changes to the physical features of historic papers with changes to the physical and human landscape of the Indus river basin region. As a by-product of human activity, handmade paper can be studied as an artefact in itself. Changes in colour, thickness and texture can be indicative of wider events and processes including wars, invasions and shifts in agriculture. Previous studies of South Asian paper-making have been historical overviews without a technical examination of historical specimens. This study will use a technical analysis of a representative sample of papers from the Indus basin region in order to:

I. Build a typology of paper types

II. Explore the factors which shaped the features of these paper types


  • Pothi Seva
  • Institute of Conservation
  • Islamic Manuscript Association
  • British Association of Paper Historians
  • International Association of Paper Historians
  • Royal Society of Microscopy


  • Paper History
  • Codicology
  • Art and Archaeology of the Book
  • Environmental and Social History of South Asia