Reinfandt, Lucian: „Denn Erde bist du und zu Erde musst du wieder werden.“ Leben und Sterben arabischer Dokumente auf Textilien in der Papyrussammlung Erzherzog Rainer (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek). Version 01
Abstract: The Erzherzog Rainer Papyrus Collection (Austrian National Library in Vienna) contains a group of 68 textiles showing Arabic script in some way or other. They form an own subject group under the signature P.Vind.inv. A.L. (for ‘Arabic linen’) and seem to have been purchased, with few exceptions, by the end of the 19th century. A good number of them consists of textiles reused as money purses, identification tags, or amulets and carrying lines of Arabic written with ink. Others are fragments of garments that had been stuffed with linings of scrap paper, the paper being former documents from Ayyūbid and Mamlūk Egypt with still readable script. Another three objects are shreds of former legal deeds written on linen cloth and being reused for tailoring. The textiles are yet another case of Arabic documents found in unsuspected places. The following paper is a preliminary version of the introductory chapter of a book collectively written by Anne Regourd (Austrian Academy of the Sciences), Fiona Handley (University of Winchester), and the present author about the Arabic textiles in the Vienna collection. It gives an overview of the objects and their assumed archaeological background before addressing a few systematic questions of document recycling, ‘biographies’ of documents, and the search for archives in Islamicate societies.