HOME

TheInfoList




Parchment is a
writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involv ...
made from specially prepared untanned skins of animals—primarily sheep, calves, and goats. It has been used as a writing medium for over two millennia.
Vellum 267px, A vellum seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaqua ...

Vellum
is a finer quality parchment made from the skins of young animals such as lambs and young calves. It may be called animal membrane by libraries and museums that wish to avoid distinguishing between ''parchment'' and the more-restricted term ''vellum'' (see below).


Parchment and vellum

Today the term ''parchment'' is often used in non-technical contexts to refer to any animal skin, particularly
goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of goat-antelope The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant Ruminants are herbivorous mammals of the suborder Ruminantia that are able to acquire nutrient ...

goat
,
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapo ...

sheep
or
cow Cow Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the ...

cow
, that has been scraped or dried under tension. The term originally referred only to the skin of sheep and, occasionally, goats. The equivalent material made from calfskin, which was of finer quality, was known as
''vellum''
''vellum''
(from the
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spok ...
or , and ultimately from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...

Latin
, meaning a calf); while the finest of all was ''uterine vellum'', taken from a calf
foetus A fetus or foetus (; plural fetuses, feti, foetuses, or foeti) is the unborn offspring of an animal that develops from an embryo An embryo is the early stage of development of a multicellular organism. In general, in organism In b ...
or
stillborn Stillbirth is typically defined as fetus, fetal death at or after 20 or 28 weeks of pregnancy, depending on the source. It results in a baby born without vital signs, signs of life. A stillbirth can result in the feeling of Guilt (emotion), guilt ...
calf. Some authorities have sought to observe these distinctions strictly: for example,
lexicographer Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups: * Practical lexicography is the art or craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a his ...
Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709  – 13 December 1784), often called Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic A critic is a person who communicates an asses ...
in 1755, and master
calligrapher Calligraphy (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mi ...

calligrapher
Edward Johnston Edward Johnston, CBE (11 February 1872 – 26 November 1944) was a Uruguayan-born British craftsman who is regarded, with Rudolf Koch, as the father of modern calligraphy, in the particular form of the broad-edged pen as a writing tool. ...

Edward Johnston
in 1906. However, when old books and documents are encountered it may be difficult, without scientific analysis, to determine the precise animal origin of a skin either in terms of its species, or in terms of the animal's age. In practice, therefore, there has long been considerable blurring of the boundaries between the different terms. In 1519,
William Horman William Horman (c. 1440 – April 1535) was a headmaster at Eton and Winchester College Winchester College is an independent boarding school for boys in the British public school tradition, situated in Winchester Winchester is a cathedral ...
wrote in his ''Vulgaria'': "That that we upon, and is made of , is called , , , ." In
Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national po ...

Shakespeare
's ''
Hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare William Shakespeare (baptism, bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and acto ...

Hamlet
'' (written c. 1599–1602) the following exchange occurs: Lee Ustick, writing in 1936, commented that: It is for these reasons that many modern
conservatorsIn certain areas of the England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the ...
,
librarian A librarian is a person who works professionally in a library, providing access to information, and sometimes social or technical programming, or instruction on information literacy to users. The role of the librarian has changed much over time, ...

librarian
s and
archivist An archivist is an information professional An information professional or information specialist is someone who collects, records, organises, stores, preserves, retrieves, and disseminates printed or digital information. The service delivered t ...
s prefer to use either the broader term ''parchment'', or the neutral term ''animal membrane''.


History

The word parchment evolved (via the Latin and the French ) from the name of the city of
Pergamon Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the c ...

Pergamon
, which was a thriving center of parchment production during the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
. The city so dominated the trade that a legend later arose which said that parchment had been invented in Pergamon to replace the use of
papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick that was used in ancient times as a . It was made from the of the papyrus plant, ', a wetland . ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a document written on sheets of such material, join ...

papyrus
which had become monopolized by the rival city of
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; : Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''Alexandria'') is the in after and , in , and a major economic centre. With a total population of 5,200,000, Alexandria is the ...

Alexandria
. This account, originating in the writings of
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, ...

Pliny the Elder
(''
Natural History Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study. A person who studies natural history ...
'', Book XII, 69–70), is false because parchment had been in use in Anatolia and elsewhere long before the rise of Pergamon.
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Da ...
mentions writing on skins as common in his time, the 5th century BC; and in his ''Histories'' (v.58) he states that the Ionians of Asia Minor had been accustomed to give the name of ''skins'' () to books; this word was adapted by Hellenized Jews to describe scrolls. In the 2nd century BC, a great library was set up in Pergamon that rivaled the famous
Library of Alexandria The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The Library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum, Mouseion, which was dedicated to the ...

Library of Alexandria
. As prices rose for papyrus and the reed used for making it was over-harvested towards local extinction in the two nomes of the
Nile delta The Nile Delta ( ar, دلتا النيل, or simply , ) is the delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), ...
that produced it, Pergamon adapted by increasing use of parchment. Writing on prepared animal skins had a long history, however.
David Diringer David Diringer (1900–1975) was a British linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign ...
noted that "the first mention of Egyptian documents written on leather goes back to the
Fourth DynastyFourth is the ordinal form of the number four. Fourth or the fourth may refer to: * ''Fourth'' (album), a 1971 album by Soft Machine * Fourth (angle) One degree (shown in red) andeighty nine degrees (shown in blue) A degree (in full, a degr ...
(c. 2550–2450 BC), but the earliest of such documents extant are: a fragmentary roll of leather of the
Sixth Dynasty The Sixth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty VI) along with the Third Dynasty of Egypt, Third, Fourth Dynasty of Egypt, Fourth and Fifth Dynasty of Egypt, Fifth Dynasty constitute the Old Kingdom of Egypt, Old Kingdom of Dynastic Egypt. ...
(c. 24th century BC), unrolled by Dr. H. Ibscher, and preserved in the
Cairo Museum The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or the Cairo Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display an ...

Cairo Museum
; a roll of the
Twelfth Dynasty The Twelfth Dynasty of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egy ...
(c. 1990–1777 BC) now in Berlin; the mathematical text now in the
British Museum The British Museum is a public institution dedicated to human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of hu ...

British Museum
(MS. 10250); and a document of the reign of
Ramses II Ramesses II ( egy, wikt:rꜥ-ms-sw, rꜥ-ms-sw meaning "Ra is the one who bore him", ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', ; ) was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful ...

Ramses II
(early thirteenth century BC)." Though the
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE (in the form of the city-state) until its collapse between 612 BCE and 609 BCE; thereby spanning ...

Assyria
ns and the
Babylonians Babylonia () was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classical Syriac: ...
impressed their
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is name ...

cuneiform
on clay tablets, they also wrote on parchment from the 6th century BC onward.
Rabbinic literature Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, is the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Judaism, Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabb ...
traditionally maintains that the institution of employing parchment made of animal hides for the writing of ritual objects such as the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are a ...

Torah
,
mezuzah A ''mezuzah'' ( he, מְזוּזָה "doorpost"; plural: ''mezuzot'') is a piece of parchment called a ''klaf'' contained in a decorative case and inscribed with specific Hebrew language, Hebrew verses from the Torah ( and ). These verses cons ...

mezuzah
, and
tefillin Tefillin (; Israeli Hebrew Israeli may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the State of Israel * Israelis, citizens or permanent residents of the State of Israel * Modern Hebrew, a language * ''Israeli'' (newspaper), published from ...

tefillin
is Sinaitic in origin, with special designations for different types of parchment such as
gevilGevil or Gewil ( he, גויל) or ( he, גוויל) is animal hide made of whole parchment that has been prepared as a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments to in ...
and
klaf Klaf or Qelaf ( he, קָלַף) is the designation given a particular piece of skin. The Talmudic definition includes both the form of the skin and the way it is processed, in particular that it must be tanned. Since the innovative ruling of '' Rab ...
. Early Islamic texts are also found on parchment. In the later
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
, especially the 15th century, parchment was largely replaced by
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * ...

paper
for most uses except luxury manuscripts, some of which were also on paper. New techniques in paper milling allowed it to be much cheaper than parchment; it was made of textile rags and of very high quality. With the advent of
printing Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and images An Synthetic aperture radar, SAR radar imaging, radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. The city of Santa Cru ...

printing
in the later fifteenth century, the demands of printers far exceeded the supply of animal skins for parchment. There was a short period during the introduction of printing where parchment and paper were used at the same time, with parchment (in fact vellum) the more expensive luxury option, preferred by rich and conservative customers. Although most copies of the
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed b ...

Gutenberg Bible
are on paper, some were printed on parchment; 12 of the 48 surviving copies, with most incomplete. In 1490,
Johannes Trithemius Johannes Trithemius (; 1 February 1462 – 13 December 1516), born Johann Heidenberg, was a Germany, German Order of Saint Benedict, Benedictine abbot and a polymath who was active in the German Renaissance as a Lexicography, lexicographer, chronic ...
preferred the older methods, because "handwriting placed on parchment will be able to endure a thousand years. But how long will printing last, which is dependent on paper? For if ... it lasts for two hundred years that is a long time." In fact high quality paper from this period has survived 500 years or more very well, if kept in reasonable library conditions. The heyday of parchment use was during the medieval period, but there has been a growing revival of its use among artists since the late 20th century. Although parchment never stopped being used (primarily for governmental documents and diplomas) it had ceased to be a primary choice for artist's supports by the end of 15th century
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
. This was partly due to its expense and partly due to its unusual working properties. Parchment consists mostly of
collagen Collagen () is the main structural in the found in the body's various s. As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. Collagen consists of ...

collagen
. When the water in paint media touches parchment's surface, the collagen melts slightly, forming a raised bed for the paint, a quality highly prized by some artists. Parchment is also extremely affected by its environment and changes in humidity, which can cause buckling. Books with parchment pages were bound with strong wooden boards and clamped tightly shut by metal (often brass) clasps or leather straps; this acted to keep the pages pressed flat despite humidity changes. Such metal fittings continued to be found on books as decorative features even after the use of paper made them unnecessary. Some contemporary artists prize the changeability of parchment, noting that the material seems alive and like an active participant in making artwork. To support the needs of the revival of use by artists, a revival in the art of preparing individual skins is also underway. Hand-prepared skins are usually preferred by artists because they are more uniform in surface and have fewer oily spots which can cause long-term cracking of paint than mass-produced parchment, which is usually made for lamp shades, furniture, or other interior design purposes. The
radiocarbon dating Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of ...
techniques that are used on papyrus can be applied to parchment as well. They do not date the age of the writing but the preparation of the parchment itself. While it is feasibly possible also to radio carbon date certain kinds of ink, it is extremely difficult to do due to the fact that they are generally present on the text only in trace amounts, and it is hard to get a carbon sample of them without the carbon in the parchment contaminating it.


Manufacture

Parchment is prepared from pelt – i.e. wet, unhaired, and limed skin – by drying at ordinary temperatures under tension, most commonly on a wooden frame known as a stretching frame.


Skinning, soaking, and dehairing

After being
flayed Image:Last judgement.jpg, 225px, Michelangelo's ''The Last Judgment (Michelangelo), The Last Judgment'' - St Bartholomew holding the knife of his martyrdom and his flayed skin; it is conjectured that Michelangelo included a self-portrait depicting ...
, the skin is soaked in water for about a day. This removes blood and grime from the skin and prepares it for a dehairing liquor. The dehairing liquor was originally made of rotted, or fermented, vegetable matter, like beer or other liquors, but by the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
an unhairing bath included
lime Lime refers to: * Lime (fruit), a green citrus fruit * Lime (material), inorganic materials containing calcium, usually calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide * Lime (color), a color between yellow and green Lime may also refer to: Botany * Austra ...
. Today, the lime solution is occasionally sharpened by the use of sodium sulfide. The liquor bath would have been in wooden or stone vats and the hides stirred with a long wooden pole to avoid human contact with the
alkaline In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, compounds composed of ato ...

alkaline
solution. Sometimes the skins would stay in the unhairing bath for eight or more days depending how concentrated and how warm the solution was kept – unhairing could take up to twice as long in winter. The vat was stirred two or three times a day to ensure the solution's deep and uniform penetration. Replacing the lime water bath also sped the process up. However, if the skins were soaked in the liquor too long, they would be weakened and not able to stand the stretching required for parchment.


Stretching

After soaking in water to make the skins workable, the skins were placed on a stretching frame. A simple frame with nails would work well in stretching the pelts. The skins could be attached by wrapping small, smooth rocks in the skins with rope or leather strips. Both sides would be left open to the air so they could be scraped with a sharp, semi-lunar knife to remove the last of the hair and get the skin to the right thickness. The skins, which were made almost entirely of
collagen Collagen () is the main structural in the found in the body's various s. As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. Collagen consists of ...

collagen
, would form a natural glue while drying and once taken off the frame they would keep their form. The stretching aligned the fibres to be more nearly parallel to the surface.


Treatments

To make the parchment more aesthetically pleasing or more suitable for the
scribe A scribe is a person who serves as a professional copyist A copyist is a person who makes copies. The term is sometimes used for artists who make copies of other artists' paintings. However, the modern use of the term is almost entirely conf ...

scribe
s, special treatments were used. According to Reed there were a variety of these treatments. Rubbing
pumice Pumice (), called pumicite in its powdered or dust form, is a volcanic rock Volcanic rock (often shortened to volcanics in scientific contexts) is a formed from erupted from a . In other words, it differs from other by being of origin. ...

pumice
powder into the flesh side of parchment while it was still wet on the frame was used to make it smooth and to modify the surface to enable inks to penetrate more deeply. Powders and pastes of calcium compounds were also used to help remove grease so the ink would not run. To make the parchment smooth and white, thin pastes (starchgrain or staunchgrain) of lime, flour, egg whites and milk were rubbed into the skins. Meliora di Curci in her paper "The History and Technology of Parchment Making" notes that parchment was not always white. " Cennini, a 15th-century craftsman provides recipes to tint parchment a variety of colours including purple, indigo, green, red and peach." The Early medieval
Codex Argenteus The Codex Argenteus (Latin for "Silver Book/Codex") is a 6th century, 6th-century illuminated manuscript, originally containing Gospel#Canonical gospels, part of the Gothic Bible, 4th-century translation of the Christian Bible into the Gothic ...

Codex Argenteus
and
Codex VercellensisThe title Codex Vercellensis Evangeliorum refers to two manuscript codices preserved in the cathedral library of Vercelli, in the Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , ...
, the
Stockholm Codex Aureus Image:CodexAureusCanterburyFolios9v10r.jpg, Folios 9 verso with Evangelist portrait, portrait of Matthew the Evangelist, Matthew and folio 11 recto with decorated text of the Gospel of Matthew starting at Matthew 1:18 (fuller images: :File:Codex Aur ...
and the
Codex BrixianusImage:CodexBrixianus2FoliosCanonTables.jpg, 300px, Canon tables from the Codex Brixianus The Codex Brixianus (Brescia, Biblioteca Civica Queriniana, s.n.), designated by f, is a 6th-century Latin Gospel Book which was probably produced in Italy. Des ...
give a range of luxuriously produced manuscripts all on
purple vellum Purple parchment, purple vellum or codex purpureus refers to manuscripts written on parchment Parchment is a writing material made from specially prepared Tanning (leather), untanned skins of animals—primarily sheep, calves, and goats. It has ...
, in imitation of Byzantine examples, like the
Rossano Gospels The Rossano Gospels, designated by 042 or Σ (in the Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 18 (Biblical manuscript#Von Soden, Soden), held at the Rossano Cathedral, cathedral of Rossano in Italy, is a 6th-century illuminate ...
,
Sinope Gospels The Sinope Gospels, designated by O or 023 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 21 ( Soden), also known as the Codex Sinopensis, is a fragment of a 6th-century illuminated Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greec ...
and the Vienna Genesis, which at least at one time are believed to have been reserved for Imperial commissions. Many techniques for parchment repair exist, to restore creased, torn, or incomplete parchments.


Reuse

Between the seventh and the ninth centuries, many earlier parchment manuscripts were scrubbed and scoured to be ready for rewriting, and often the earlier writing can still be read. These recycled parchments are known as
palimpsest In textual studiesTextual scholarship (or textual studies) is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods fo ...

palimpsest
s. Later, more thorough techniques of scouring the surface irretrievably lost the earlier text.


Jewish parchment

The way in which parchment was processed (from hide to parchment) has undergone a tremendous evolution based on time and location. Parchment and vellum are not the sole methods of preparing animal skins for writing. In the
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has ...

Babylonian Talmud
(
Bava Batra Bava Batra (also Baba Batra; Talmudic Aramaic: בָּבָא בַּתְרָא "The Last Gate") is the third of the three Talmudic tractates in the Talmud in the order Nezikin; it deals with a person's responsibilities and rights as the owner of pro ...
14B), Moses is described as having written the first Torah Scroll on the unsplit cow-hide called ''
gevilGevil or Gewil ( he, גויל) or ( he, גוויל) is animal hide made of whole parchment that has been prepared as a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments to in ...
''. Parchment is still the only medium used by traditional
religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
for Torah scrolls or
tefilin Tefillin (; Modern Hebrew language, Israeli Hebrew: / ; Ashkenazim, Askhenazic pronunciation: ) or phylacteries, is a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. Tefillin are worn by obse ...

tefilin
and
mezuzah A ''mezuzah'' ( he, מְזוּזָה "doorpost"; plural: ''mezuzot'') is a piece of parchment called a ''klaf'' contained in a decorative case and inscribed with specific Hebrew language, Hebrew verses from the Torah ( and ). These verses cons ...

mezuzah
s, and is produced by large companies in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
. For those uses, only hides of
kosher ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibition ...

kosher
animals are permitted. Since there are many requirements for it being fit for the religious use, the liming is usually processed under supervision of a qualified
Rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civili ...

Rabbi
.


Additional uses of the term

In some universities, the word parchment is still used to refer to the certificate (scroll) presented at graduation ceremonies, even though the modern document is printed on paper or thin card; although doctoral graduates may be given the option of having their scroll written by a calligrapher on vellum.
Heriot-Watt University Heriot-Watt University ( gd, Oilthigh Heriot-Watt) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organi ...
still uses goatskin parchment for their degrees.


Plant-based parchment

Vegetable (paper) parchment is made by passing a waterleaf (an unsized paper like blotters) made of pulp fibers into
sulfuric acid Sulfuric acid (American spelling Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the same country, there are only slight regional variations in English orthography English orthogra ...

sulfuric acid
. The sulfuric acid hydrolyses and solubilises the main natural organic polymer, cellulose, present in the pulp wood fibers. The paper web is then washed in water, which stops the hydrolysis of the cellulose and causes a kind of cellulose coating to form on the waterleaf. The final paper is dried. This coating is a natural non-porous cement, that gives to the vegetable parchment paper its resistance to grease and its semi-translucency. Other processes can be used to obtain grease-resistant paper, such as waxing the paper or using
fluorine Fluorine is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol F and atomic number 9. It is the lightest halogen and exists at Standard conditions for temperature and pressure, standard conditions as a highly toxic, pale yellow Diatomic molecule ...

fluorine
-based chemicals. Highly beating the fibers gives an even more translucent paper with the same grease resistance. Silicone and other coatings may also be applied to the parchment. A
silicone A silicone or polysiloxane is a polymer A polymer (; Greek ''poly- Poly, from the Greek :wikt:πολύς, πολύς meaning "many" or "much", may refer to: Businesses * China Poly Group Corporation, a Chinese business group, and its sub ...

silicone
-coating treatment produces a cross-linked material with high density, stability and heat resistance and low surface tension which imparts good anti-stick or release properties.
Chromium Chromium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science tha ...

Chromium
salts can also be used to impart moderate anti-stick properties.


Parchment craft

Historians believe that parchment craft originated as an art form in Europe during the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. Parchment craft at that time occurred principally in Catholic communities, where crafts persons created lace-like items such as devotional pictures and communion cards. The craft developed over time, with new techniques and refinements being added. Until the sixteenth century, parchment craft was a European art form. However, missionaries and other settlers relocated to South America, taking parchment craft with them. As before, the craft appeared largely among the Catholic communities. Often, young girls receiving their first communion received gifts of handmade parchment crafts. Although the invention of the printing press led to a reduced interest in hand made cards and items, by the eighteenth century, people were regaining interest in detailed handwork. Parchment cards became larger in size and crafters began adding wavy borders and perforations. In the nineteenth century, influenced by French romanticism, parchment crafters began adding floral themes and cherubs and hand embossing. Parchment craft today involves various techniques, including tracing a pattern with white or colored ink, embossing to create a raised effect, stippling, perforating, coloring and cutting. Parchment craft appears in hand made cards, as scrapbook embellishments, as bookmarks, lampshades, decorative small boxes, wall hangings and more.


DNA testing

An article published in 2009 by Timothy L. Stinson considered the possibilities of tracing the origin of medieval parchment manuscripts and codices through
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically neutral gro ...

DNA
analysis. The methodology would employ
polymerase chain reaction Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies (complete copies or partial copies) of a specific DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM. ...

polymerase chain reaction
to replicate a small DNA sample to a size sufficiently large for testing. A 2006 study had revealed the genetic signature of several Greek manuscripts to have "goat-related sequences". It might be possible to use these techniques to determine whether related library materials were made from genetically related animals (perhaps from the same herd).Stinson 2009. In 2020, it was reported that the species of several of the animals used to provide parchment for the
Dead Sea Scrolls The Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are and religious first found in 1947 at the in what was then , near in the , on the northern shore of the . Dating back to between the and the , the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered ...

Dead Sea Scrolls
could be identified, and the relationship between skins obtained from the same animal inferred. The breakthrough was made possible by the use of
whole genome sequencing Whole genome sequencing (WGS), also known as full genome sequencing, complete genome sequencing, or entire genome sequencing, is the process of determining the entirety, or nearly the entirety, of the DNA The structure of part of a DNA do ...
.


See also

* Conservation and restoration of parchment *
Manuscript culture Manuscript culture uses manuscripts to store and disseminate information; in the West, it generally preceded the age of printing. In early manuscript culture, monks copied manuscripts by hand. They copied not just religious works, but a variety of ...


References


Notes


Bibliography

* * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * *


External links

*
Preservation of 18th Century Parchment , "From the Stacks" at New-York Historical Society


,
Bibliothèque nationale de France The Bibliothèque nationale de France (, "National Library of France"; BnF) is the national library A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public library, publi ...
– Text in French, but mostly visual {{Authority control Leather goods Book design Writing media Textual scholarship