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Old 10-31-2007, 07:06 AM   #1
George
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Default Modern Papyrus

By chance, does anyone know how modern day papyrus, specifically referring to that used in Alexandria for souvenir artifacts, compares with that made in ancient times?? I've only reviewed ancient papyrus by photograph. The modern papyrus looks like a very nice medium, but perhaps, it is intentionally upgraded for marketing purposes. However, I'm thinking it actually might represent an Augustus or Claudius ancient papyrus grade.

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Old 11-01-2007, 03:08 AM   #2
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While in Luxor last February we were taken by our taxi driver / guide to a papyrus museum and shop on the west bank of the Nile. This was off the main tourist routes and was very interesting. We had a demonstration of the way that papyrus has been made since ancient times by cutting thin vertical slices of papyrus stalks, hammering them flat and soaking in water. This produces pliable and sticky stips which are layered on cloth and then pressed for a few days, until dry. The papyrus produced here looked to be exactly the same as the ancient papyrus samples in the museum. Naturally we purchased some to bring home, both plain and some delightful traditional ink drawings and paintings!

The museum curator advised us that the "papyrus" sold in many of the tourist traps is made from pressed banana leaves held together with glue.

The description on this page is not different from the method we saw demonstrated.

   
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Old 11-01-2007, 04:21 AM   #3
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Thank you, Kelvyn, for the info and the link. I should have known you would have the answer.

I have to study ancient manuscript techniques to assess certain text-critical issues, and just as I am reading about how papyrus is made, a friend comes back from Egypt with a piece of it as a gift. It looks like the real thing, and I was surprised at its quality, (as I can't get completely over that conditioning of underrating the sophistication of ancient life).

So is that your impression, that the papyrus is not just a good medium but excellent for hand printed documents (considering better grades)??

(BTW -- anyone in this forum would have been completely at home with ancient publishing. The issues are all the same -- paper, font, layout, illustrations etc -- but the processes are different).

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Old 11-01-2007, 01:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
kelvyn: The description on this page is not different from the method we saw demonstrated.
And their choice of font is quite appropriate...'-}}

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Old 11-02-2007, 01:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George View Post
So is that your impression, that the papyrus is not just a good medium but excellent for hand printed documents (considering better grades)??
Not being a printer I wouldn't know. There is one feature of using papyrus that is interesting. It has quite a hard, almost glossy, surface, but when using a water based ink or paint the "glue" on the surface of the papyrus softens and I suspect "combines" with the water/pigment.

   
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Old 11-02-2007, 02:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvyn View Post
There is one feature of using papyrus that is interesting. It has quite a hard, almost glossy, surface, but when using a water based ink or paint the "glue" on the surface of the papyrus softens and I suspect "combines" with the water/pigment.
You are reading my mind. Yes, it was that hard, glossy surface that made me suspicious the modern papyrus was an upgrade.

That's a very interesting issue on how the surface combines with the ink, that now I want to check into. In ancient times, black ink was made from a type of soot in a gum and water base. A red ink was made from red ocher or red iron oxide.

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