28th January 2020

Speaker: Susan Whitfield

The prevalent idea of medieval manuscripts is most likely to be of illuminated texts in European languages in codex form written on parchment. But this is only a small part of the medieval world, which included much greater diversity in terms of materials, formats and languages. This lecture will give a history of the development of the book in Central, East and South Asia, including the invention of paper and printing and their influence across Eurasia.

Dr Susan Whitfield is a writer, scholar, lecturer and traveler of the Silk Roads. During 25 years curating the collections of manuscripts from Dunhuang and other Silk Road sites at the British Library, she also helped found and then developed the International Dunhuang Project (IDP), now a thriving international collaboration working on the art and artefacts of the eastern Silk Road. She has lectured and written widely on the Silk Road. Her latest book, Silk, Slaves and Stupas: Material Culture of the Silk Road, will be published in March 2018. She has also curated several major exhibitions and organized field trips to archaeological sites in the Taklamakan desert.