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Re: African Bindings

Thanks for the information.  I'll be sure to check the sources that you suggest.

From:   Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord[SMTP:sgaylord@xxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent:   Wednesday, September 03, 1997 10:04 AM
To:     BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject:        Re: African Bindings

        When I was working on "Mlticultural Books to Make and Share", a book
for teachers, I found the section on Africa the most difficult. The
Coptic binding already mentioned is one. The Copts in Egypt converted to
Christianity in the 2nd century and made lots of books. They continued
to speak their own language into the 13th century despite the Atrab
conquest in 641 and used their language in church liturgy into the 17th
century. I was looking for simpler forms so I didn't use the Coptic
binding in my book.
        In Ethiopia, talismanic scrolls were made, often placed in cases and
worn. A good resource is "Ethiopian Magic Scrolls" by Jacques Mercier,
1979, George Brazillier, NY. It has some good historical information and
lots of color plates. All are of the paintings on the scrolls. I was
wishing for one of the entire scroll. I adapted it for kids to a "wish
scroll" using paper scrolls and film containers.
        Islam was and is a major influence in Africa. Scrolls were used in all
of Islamic Africa from the 7th century. In West Africa, the Koran is
taught to students in Arabic on wooden boards. Some boards have text
painted on to learn. Others are for writing which is done with charcoal
and then washed clean. They start out a light color and darken with use.
        I expanded my definition of the book to include symbolic beadwork and
        If you're interested in African art, there is a beautiful magazine
called "African Arts", published by the J.S. Coleman African Studies
Center at the University of California in LA. It's expensive and
unfortunately, not subscribed to by a lot of libraries. I found it at
the BU library. The articles I read were scholarly, but readable and the
photographs exquisite.
        Hope this is helpful.

in good spirit,

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA

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