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Chinese Bookbinding
the Dunhuang Database

The International Dunhuang Project (IDP) was established in 1993 following a meeting of conservators from all over the world to promote the study and preservation of manuscripts and printed documents from Dunhuang and other Central Asian sites through international co-operation. The secretariat is at The British Library in the Oriental and India Office Collections.


This page gives access to information on over 22,000 manuscripts and printed documents from Central Asia in the British Library collection (it will expand to include manuscripts from other collections in the future). It also includes high quality colour images of manuscript fragments, with more images being added every week.

The history of Chinese bookbinding has always suffered owing to a lack of material evidence. The various book formats discovered among the Dunhuang document collection provide a wealth of information previously out of reach to scholars. However, this resource has remained relatively untapped, attention instead being focused on the textual content of the documents. Bookbinding is just one of many aspects to the study of the Dunhuang collection as physical artefacts. This site, by combining textual descriptions with diagrams illustrating binding techniques and photographs of the actual objects, aims to give a comprehensive introduction to the different kinds of Chinese bookbinding contained in the Dunhuang collection of the British Library.

Just checking if anybody comes along: I'm not doing this for myself you know....CK

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