The tafsir is destined for academic study by scholars.
Karissa’s goal is to identify and understand the materials from which it
was made and their state of degradation, along with the manuscript’s
religious context, so that an appropriate plan can be made for its
handling and future conservation.
Karissa, a library and archives major, has organized her study around three material aspects of the tafsir: the paper on which it is written, the black and red inks with which it was written and annotated, and the leather used to make the decorated case in which it was carried. She also will attempt to identify the sizing used on the pages. Islamic law forbids contact between religiously reverential objects and impure materials such as certain animal products and liquid intoxicants.
Gelatin sizing and alcohol are commonly used in conservation treatment, so a better understanding of the cultural context of this item is crucial before a treatment plan can be developed. While Karissa thinks the paper was imported, she believes the inks were made from native plants and that the leather came from the skins of local livestock. She theorizes that fingerprints found on some pages belonged to Demba.