ICCROM Register of Heritage Samples Archives
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Islamic Paper Collection

Type Collection

Date of creation of the archive


Date of closure of the archive


Creator(s) of the archive

University of Ljubljana, Prof. dr. Matija Strlič

Summary Description

A collection of 230 paper samples was gathered from various commercial sources across Central Asia, Near East and North Africa (spanning the 15th to 19th centuries) for the purpose of scientific research. The majority of the samples are paper fragments written in Arabic (168), with several in Coptic script, Persian and Turkic languages. Among them, 31 samples are from Samarqand (Uzbekistan). The majority of samples (133) cannot be dated, 83 can be attributed to the 18th and 19th centuries, and ca. 10 are older. However, no detailed information about the provenance, date or historical storage conditions for these samples remains is available. The samples are documented including physical measurements, observations and images, all associated with unique Sample IDs and stored within a digital catalogue.


Type and number of units

Object type

Manuscript fragment

Material type


Geographic Distribution

Central Asia, Near East and North Africa

Statement of Significance

The sample collection consists of manuscript fragments acquired solely for the purpose of scientific study, including material analysis. The fragments are genuine and historic objects, and although their provenance, date of production and storage history is unknown, they can be useful to broaden the scientific understanding of the material history of Islamic manuscripts. Many samples have already been analysed using various analytical methods and both the samples and the associated data are available for further research endeavours. The collection is stored in a dedicated refrigerator to maintain stable storage conditions after analyses. A digitized catalogue and a database containing all the measurements and related metadata are available for reference and research purposes.


Yes - upon request

Access requirements

The collection can be accessed by contacting the person in charge or the HSLL laboratory manager. Access to the collection is evaluated on a case-by-case basis taking into account the validity of the scientific research question and its feasibility. In dealing with destructive sampling requests we adhere to the ICON Ethical Sampling guidance.

Type of users

Professionals, cultural heritage organizations, conservators, and researchers involved in cultural heritage research.


Conservation Science
Ink manufacture
Non-destructive technique
Reference collection

Finding aids

The collection, along with the analytical techniques employed, is comprehensively described in an open-access publication (https://heritagesciencejournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40494-016-0103-4).

External link

Name of the web site
Reference Historic Material Collections of the Heritage Science Lab Ljubljana