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Islamic Books and Bookbinding

Muslims learned the art of papermaking in the eighth century through their contacts with the Chinese, following their expansion into Central Asia. By the 11th-12th centuries, this technique reached Europe by way of Muslim Spain. Prior to the introduction of paper, Muslims used parchment (made from goatskin) and papyrus (indigenous to Egypt which they conquered in 641) for writing. Papermaking contributed to the flourishing of Islamic civilization in the middle ages, by providing readily accessible writing materials, and to the proliferation of the Islamic book and the craft of bookbinding.