New Approaches to the Conservation of Tibetan Books

The 19th Seminar on the Care and Conservation of Manuscripts was held at the University of Copenhagen from the 19th to the 21st. of April 2023. The meeting gathered conservators, scholars and students, colleagues from all over the world who share the interest on a wide and complex subject. The programme included codicological studies, diagnostic analyses and innovation in the field of book conservation.

In that occasion, together with her Tibetologist colleague Dr. Michela Clemente, Federica Delia could present a research, to whom they have been dedicating enthusiastically the past few years.
The presentation illustrated the research on new approaches to the conservation of Tibetan books. In particular, the project is focused on two fragmentary manuscripts of the Tibetan Tucci Collection, belonging to the IsIAO Library. The Collection is hosted in the African and Oriental Collection Hall of the National Central Library of Rome (BNCR), while it is managed by the International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies (ISMEO).
A precious collaboration with Dr. Filippo Lunardo, researcher at Sapienza Università di Roma and expert of Tibetan Art History, helps in the study of the illuminations. Dr. Mauro Missori, physicist at the National Research Council (Cnr) and Sapienza Università di Roma, coordinates instead the diagnostic analyses on the two manuscripts. The whole project is under the supervision of Silvia Sotgiu, Head of Conservation at the BNCR.
Federica and Michela have started the research with the aim of identifying the employed original raw materials. Then, they selected specific Himalayan fibers and experimented the making of a paper to be applied to the conservation of Tibetan books. The experimentation has been conducted at the laboratory of the Academy of Fine Arts of Rome. The handmade paper production involved two specialists in paper technology: Elena Bordacconi and Giacomo Mafrici.