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Re: Persian ink

Susan, if you want to deliberately recreate " the 'burn-out' effect
caused by iron gall(?), inks over time," you may have a long wait:
there are a considerable number of iron-gall manuscripts, dating much
further back than the 18th/19th centuries, whose ink and pages are
still pristine. It might be better to ask *why* this particular
manuscript, and not others, shows this effect.

I checked the very methodical Yves Porter, "Peinture et Arts du Livre"
(also available in an English translation), and found that iron-gall
ink was fairly common in Persian mss., though the proportion of carbon
inks was much higher than in European mss. Also, Persian calligs
used "mixed" inks, viz., mixtures of carbon and gall *without ferrous
sulphate*. This would have included the ink used by Sultan 'Ali of
Mashshad, presently on view at the Met - there's a recipe in Porter.

By the way, there were complaints as far back as the seventeenth
century that Indian [Mughal] inks were very poor. At the same time, it
sounds as if natural ferrous sulphate was hard to obtain. I mention
this because:

1) I've learned never to assume that a "Persian" manuscript is really
Persian. Watch out for Indian Islamic manuscripts!

2) Apparently, some time around the sixteenth century (and probably
earlier, I suspect), people started manufacturing copperas (ferrous
sulphate) by drenching nails in sulphuric acid. It would be interesting
to find out where and when this was done, and whether that correlates
with the iron-gall inks that burn the page.

Of course, Susan, you might want to cut to the chase and write on paper
with sulphuric acid, but do be careful, okay?

Paul T Werner, New York

WOID: A journal of visual language
THE ORANGE PRESS, publishing "Vellum Preparation: History and Technique"
DRAGONSBLOOD AND ASHES, a project to research and practice the
techniques of the medieval scribe

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