Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This beautiful manuscript (an incomplete Koran) which I have already showed once, has attracted the attention of Dr. Dmitry Bondarev of SOAS, my academic sponsor for the project. He says that if it is indeed copied in Djenne it would be quite a story. He and others say it is from the Maghreb. The people in Djenne assures me that it is copied here. The clue may be that it belongs to a Djenne family which traces their ancestry to the Moroccan invasion here in the 16th century. They are adamant it is copied here. The yellow segments are written in saffron! This is still done sometimes here in Djenne, and Samba Landoure, a member of the dreaded library management committee, tells me he knows how to prepare this saffron ink!
It appears that Djenne is renowned for preparing the best calligraphy ink in Mali, and that often the scribes of Timbuktu bought their ink here. Next time we do the Calligraphy competition we will insist on traditional inks, last time some people used biros!


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