The main goal of the project is to enable appropriate conservation of the valuable textiles used in and for Armenian books, as they tell important and wonderful story about Armenian craft, trade, and meaning, use and repair, the co-operation between cloth manufacturing and book binding, the habits and tastes of specific areas and historical periods, which can lead to better understanding of the books, their better conservation as a result and, in certain cases, even re-evaluation of some existing knowledge about the very history of Armenian books and textiles. Wider research context Textiles have been widely used in books globally. However, each book culture has had its own peculiar features. Where they overlap they tell us about interconnection of people, their mutual influence and interdependence of their mentalities. All this is expressed in the physical design and in our case is literally “woven into textiles”. Since textiles have always accompanied people everywhere, textiles have also been ready at hand for repair work. Still, this kind of repair involving textiles has not yet attracted attention it duly deserves as a source of information about Armenian book binding techniques and choices concerning material. Hypothesis Therefore, a deep study of all material features of textiles used in Armenian books should reveal a whole web of connections, while its interpretation on the basis of conservators´ knowledge about Armenian books should provide valuable new knowledge. Importantly, this work will also include printed books, which have not so far been covered by similar studies due to their sheer numbers. Collections of textiles per se and photo collections will also serve as sources that may help explain which textiles were used for which books, and why. Methods: The project will start with a preparatory work using information available online to allow for an informed approach of original items as a second phase. Level of originality Textiles in Armenian books have never before been chosen as a topic of research to be done in conjunction with the background knowledge of a conservator. The level of detail in the description of textiles used in Armenian books, seen in the context of other available information, is expected to be without precedent. Primary researchers involved are, P. Engel, an academically trained conservator-restorer (incl. textiles) with over 40 years of experience, who has been working on Armenian books for over 20 years now, both in her researcher and practical conservator capacity and, a young PhD candidate, who will be given a 3 years 75% payment and will be able to build a particular unique profile of his/her professional career during this time. The well-established network of P. Engel will allow her access to the otherwise protected repositories of valuable books. Applications for access will, of course, be sent only after the project is granted. Public collections and libraries in Europe are more easily accessible.


Duration 01/07/2024 - 30/06/2027
Funding FWF
Principle investigator for the project (University for Continuing Education Krems) habil. Mag. Dr. Patricia Engel
Back to top