A note on binding

As the Gospel of St. Cuthbert was produced in Ethiopic style (Federici & Pascalicchio p. 206), and is contemporary to the Book of Durrow this is the style which we will employ in the binding of our recreation. This method utilizes one to seven sets of paired sewing stations attached to wooden boards on either side of the codex (Szirmai p. 46). A length of binding thread is first anchored to the adjacent sewing stations at its midpoint by creating anchor loops through holes cut in the board (diagram below) (Szirmai p. 46). Each loose end is then threaded through a needle and the two ends are used simultaneously to create the stitching pattern (Szirmai p. 46). The threads are looped backwards over earlier stitches to lock the quires together in a chain stitch (see link below).

Ethiopic board hole diagram

The TRLN Bookbinders have posted some excellent photos of ethiopic bindings that they have recreated:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeunivlibraries/4259094585/in/set-72157623049159971

Federici C & Pascalicchio F 1993, ‘A Census of Medieval Bookbingings: Early Examples’, in M Maniaci & PL Munafò (eds), Ancient and Medieval Book Materials and Tequniques, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Città del Vaticano.

Szirmai, JA 1999, The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbonding, Ashgate, Aldershot/Brookfield.

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