Thursday, April 21, 2011

The print on the page...

Yesterday we visited the Guttenburg museum. We had to endure a truly awful walking tour with a Fin who didn't speak very good English to get there. The cool part was that I got to take part in a demo of a Guttenburg screw press. She was a beauty. Printed out a page from a Guttenburg bible in 3 colors on good quality Amalfi paper.

Upstairs in their treasury they had several amazing books including 2 original Guttenburg Bibles. Each was slightly different as their owners had requested extra illumination to decorate some of the pages. They said it was hard to estimate their value but it was certainly in the millions. Depite being such an important figure a lot about his life is unknown. Although it does seem he was a terrible businessman. Several lawsuits and a few unpaid loans. He did gain some status later in life but didnt live long enough to enjoy it. The museum also has a wing dedicated to the Chinese, who, contrary to what I had learned, also developed some movable type (although impractical due to Chinese being a pictographic language requiring thousands of blocks). I knew they had done block printing, but movable type was a surprise.

We dumped the latter half of our walking tour to go back and just gawk at the amazing presses and books (both hand written and printed). When we left I noticed a print shop next-door to the musuem that appeared to be associated with it, but there was no time to find out for sure.

Although there is no evidence to supporso such a thing, I sometimes get a strong feeling that I was somehow associated with printing and books in some previous life. It's uncanny.

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