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[BKARTS] Fwd: Metal Bookbinding Article

Readers of Book_Arts-L, ExLibris, and SHARP-L may be interested in a ground-breaking article on Latvian peasant bindings by Robert Milevski (Princeton Univ Library) and Valdis Villeruss (Art Academy of Latvia), published in "Library History" 24/2 (June 2008): Here is a link to the article:


The authors point out that Latvian metal-clad bindings, produced in a particular part
of the country and during a limited span of time during the c19, are unique in bookbinding history. Their conclusions:

Latvian peasant metal-clad bindings are an important area of study for several
reasons. First, they show the commitment to and reverence for the Bible and other
religious books by a group of people located in a particular geographic area and in
a particular socio-economic position/condition; a group that could ill afford to
replace these books when they wore out, but learned to care for them in a simple
and suitable way. Second, the metalwork on these bindings indicates a level of
vitality, creativity, practicality, and maturity in response to a need; the need to
preserve the book's form, function, and content as much as and for as long as
possible. Third, nineteenth-century Latvian peasants observed decorative and
utilitarian metal features from fifteenth- and sixteenth-century bookbindings
available to them locally and reworked these features according to their needs and
interests; their binding designs are logical extensions and localizations of these
exemplars. Fourth, they preserve an aspect of craft tradition in folk art and design
motifs that is reflected in these bindings as well as other objects created by the
Latvian peasants. Fifth, these bindings are a unique and fascinating branch of
bookbinding history, one that has been unknown in the West, including the
English-speaking world, until now.

Terry Belanger University Professor, Honorary Curator of Special Collections Director, Rare Bk School : University of Virginia Rare Book School : PO 400103 : Charlottesville, VA 22904-4103 Email belanger@xxxxxxxxxxxx : Phone 434-924-8851 : Fax 434-924-8824 URL <http://www.rarebookschool.org>

NOW ONLINE, The Bonefolder, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2008 at
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This page last changed: October 29, 2008