Notebook, 1993-




Writing material made from the skins of sheep or calf, less frequently pig, goat, and other animals; it has also been used for painting, and occasionally for printing and bookbinding. Pliny puts forward the opinion that parchment--meaning, perhaps, a skin prepared by special methods--was discovered by Eumenes II (197-159 BC) of Pergamum, after the Ptolemies had banned the export of papyrus from Egypt in an attempt to prevent the growth of the Pergamene library; hence the name 'parchment' from the Latin pergamena , 'of Pergamum'. Skin had been used as a writing material before this, but the refined methods of cleaning and stretching involved in making parchment enabled both sides of a leaf to be used, leading eventually to the supplanting of the manuscript roll by the bound book. Vellum is a fine kind of parchment made from the delicate skins of young (sometimes stillborn) animals. Paper began to replace parchment from about the 14th cent., but parchment is still used for certain kinds of documents, and the name is often applied to high-quality writing paper.

[Chilvers, Ian, Harold Osborne, and Dennis Farr, eds. Oxford Dictionary Of Art. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.]



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