What is a question paper analysis

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The name “Diez-Alben” refers to a bundle of around 450 miniatures, drawings, sketches and calligraphies, most of which were created in the 14th and 15th centuries in what is now Iran and Afghanistan. At the end of the 18th century, these were acquired from the Topkapı Palace by the Prussian ambassador Heinrich Friedrich von Diez and thus ended up in the Berlin State Library.

The heterogeneous material - both pure ink drawings and colored sheets - is relevant for understanding the development of Islamic book illumination and has so far been relatively little researched.

Since the leaves were subjected to a highly invasive restoration due to their state of preservation, the non-destructive examination of the papers, the drawing and writing materials of the inscriptions presented an analytical challenge.


The project had two goals:
The qualitative determination of all drawing materials, i.e. the inks, inks, pigments and dyes, forms the basis for a comparison of this bundle with other works of art created at the same time in other regions.
Numerous sheets contain inscriptions, "attributions"; Here the question was investigated whether these inscriptions were made with the same material as the drawings and should therefore be placed in a narrow context. Furthermore, an attempt was made to differentiate different development stages of a drawing by means of varying drawing inks.


The numerous individual results are published in a catalog.


German Research Foundation

Cooperation partner

Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)
Berlin State Library, SPK


O. Hahn, “Scientific investigation of carbon inks - an analytical challenge”, in: The Diez Albums, Julia Gonella, Friederike Weis, Christoph Rauch (eds.), Brill, Leiden (2017), 427-438.