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soteriou papermaking archive

Indian and Islamic Craft Traditions

Database of Freely usable papermaking media files

The purpose of this website is multiple: to visually preserve and document vanishing Indo–Islamic hand papermaking traditions, and as well, to offer free use of any and all images.

Life through time is known by expressions revealed through fine art, manuscripts and preservation of historic and cultural information. All rest upon a quiet substrate – paper. Paper has its own story to tell. Artisans trace their family’s papermaking heritage back generations and through countries in times of peace and times of conquest. Their migrations, family culture and norms, and the techniques and materials they used, are in tandem with history and culture through time. Stories and recollections from elder artisans inspired Alexandra Soteriou to gather and photograph their way of life, papermaking methods and heritage.

You can learn more about that story through this site, and also by using the link on this page to access Soteriou’s 2015 presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or read her book, Gift of Conquerors, Hand Papermaking in India, 1999.

Tabs on the left allow the viewer to search for images by subject. Pictures may be freely used but must include one or more of the attributions shown at the Terms of Use tab above. Double click on any of the images to view a high resolution version. Click on the link below the high resolution image to access a download.

The Soteriou Papermaking Archive has been made possible through collaborative effort. Early research and original photography was facilitated in part by a 1985 Fulbright Fellowship and along with decades of subsequent personally funded fieldwork. Digitization of original slide images was accomplished thanks to a 2015 grant from The Islamic Manuscript Association, TIMA, Creation of this website would not have been possible without the continued support of Professor Timothy D. Barrett, The University of Iowa Center for the Book, and The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections Department and Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio.

Alexandra Soteriou Signature