Paper & Parchment

Parchment is any animal skin (usually calf, sheep or goat) prepared in an alkali solution and dried under tension. Parchment was the primary writing support across the ancient world (besides papyrus), for books, scrolls and bindings. It has been in constant use for over two millennia.
Paper offers an excellent surface for writing, drawing, painting and printing. It is usually made from a pulp of plant fibres or processed textiles. Invented in China during the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), by the 8th century the new technology arrived in the Middle East. Although introduced to Europe in the mid-10th century, paper was not widely used until the advent of printing in the mid-15th century.

Qur’an, copied by Ibn al-Bawwab
Abbasid Baghdad (Iraq)
1000-1001 (391 AH)
CBL Is 1431


  • List
  • Grid
  • Slideshow
  • Geisha seated on porch beside plum tree
    Keisai Eisen
    CBL J 2010

    1 / 9

  • Gospel book
    Hayrapet and Yokob (depir)
    Isfahan (Iran)
    CBL Arm 578

    2 / 9

  • Harklean Gospels
    Isho’bar Romanos
    Tella (modern Turkey)
    CBL Syc 703

    3 / 9

  • Life of the Buddha
    mid-19th century
    CBL Bu 1207

    4 / 9

  • Mechanical paper making
    Theatrum machinarum novum
    published by Paul Fürst
    Cologne (Germany)
    CBL AZ845

    5 / 9

  • Qur’an, copied by Ibn al-Bawwab
    Abbasid Baghdad (Iraq)
    1000-1001 (391 AH)
    CBL Is 1431

    6 / 9

  • Qur’an
    copied by Muhammad ibn al-Wahid
    14th century
    Mamluk Cairo (Egypt)
    CBL Is 1440

    7 / 9

  • Qur’an, copied in gold on blue-dyed parchment
    probably Tunisia
    10th century
    CBL Is 1405A

    8 / 9

  • One hundred lohans
    early 19th century
    CBL C 1147

    9 / 9

Open today 10am–5pm

Monday to Friday 10am–5pm
Saturday 11am–5pm
Sunday 1pm–5pm

Closed Mondays: Nov - Feb

**Closed 1 Jan; Good Friday; 24-26 Dec & Monday Public Holidays.**

Admission is free
Suggested donation €5


Chester Beatty
Dublin Castle
Dublin 2
D02 AD92