Some New Uses of the Geniza Mercantile Letter – On the Materiality of Writing in the Indian Ocean World.
This contribution centres on the materiality of writing in exchanges between the Eastern Mediterranean and India’s western seaboard in the period before 1500. More specifically it focuses on the writing supports and marking technologies used in the correspondence of Jewish sojourners from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean residing in South Asia, as documented in twelfth century material from the Cairo Geniza. Writing materials are never simply passive carriers of a primary written meaning, rather, the materialities of writing are imbued with meaning and are themselves legible. South Asia was, and long remained, a largely paperless culture and the adaptations of North African and the Eastern Mediterranean sojourners to this environment speak powerfully of deeply held cultural ideas about writing and its functions.
Citation : Lambourn, E. (2020) Some New Uses of the Geniza Mercantile Letter – On the Materiality of Writing in the Indian Ocean World. In: Gibson, M. (Ed.) Fruit of Knowledge, Wheel of Learning: Essays in Honour of Professor Robert Hillenbrand. London: Gingko Library.
Research Institute : Institute of History
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities