Sunday 18 November 2018

Thongs and Letters

Castle Wijchen in grey and wet autumn weather last sunday.

Last Sunday an exhibition opened in castle Wijchen (the Netherlands) on 'Strengels en Letters' - I am not sure how this would correctly translate, but I suppose 'Thongs and letters' will do. The exhibition is on books in the medieval Duchy of Gelre, and how they were made. The 'thongs' or strengels are pieces of parchment that were used in bookbinding for reinforcement of the spine of the book. The exhibition shows that the cliché of that medieval books were written by monks and owned by the wealthy few that could read was wrong. Examples of very cheaply bound (note)books, ledgers, etc. make clear that far more people could read and write than generally assumed.
The exhibition will be on display from 11 November 2018 to 10 March 2019.

The exhibition was co-organised by guest-curator Astrid of the medieval craft group the 'Papieren Eenhoorn' (Paper Unicorn). They are often at castle Hernen at the same time our re-enactment group is. Therefore they asked if they could borrow some of our furniture for the display of the diverse medieval book-producing crafts. So we will be 'missing' some of our seats for some months ... One of the other book-production crafts on display is an early book printing press - the Minion press - made by the Dutch Luthier, who is also a frequent visitor at castle Hernen. 

Astrid of the 'Papieren eenhoorn' (Paper Unicorn) gives the opening lecture.

 Bookbinding and writing with two of our chairs. During opening of the exhibition some re-enactors showed their craft.

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