Dubai: The Juma Al Majid Centre announced the restoration of 468 manuscripts for the Zayed Centre for Studies and Research during a conference held on Wednesday.
The announcement was made by Bassam Dagestani, Head of Manuscripts Restoration at Juma Al Majid Centre, who explained that the restoration of the 468 manuscripts took 13 months to complete. The manuscripts had to pass through different stages of restoration, he said, starting with taking digital photographs and leading to the actual restoration process.
Dagestani spoke about the challenges faced by the restoration team in view of failed previous restoration attempts where the manuscript’s authentic skin was replaced with aesthetic ones and so had to be reworked on from the start.
Restoration devices that were developed by the centre and donated to 46 centres in the Arab and Islamic world were displayed during the conference. The staff of these centres where also trained by the centre on how to restore and conserve manuscripts during the centres’ annual international sessions, which will conclude today.
Dagestani also spoke about the different ‘diseases’ that can affect manuscripts, such as burned papers, paper discolouring and patches and how they can be treated. The centre was adopted by Unesco for making old natural paper, he added.
Juma Al Majid thanked Zayed Centre for Studies and Research for its interest in preserving the manuscripts, stressing that the centre does not only collect books but also restores books and provides them to poor researchers at low costs.
Al Majid concluded by stating that the centre’s effort in restoring books is not only limited to the UAE, saying it had collaborated with Germany to save scripts in Indonesia and had cooperated with Dr Bgrorda of Tehran and Al Azhar’s Mohammad Hussain Tantawi to save Al Azhar scripts. Juma Al Majid Centre also played a key role in saving the manuscripts of Timbuktu in Mali.