Bamberg block books

Block books are 15th century prints, which were not produced using movable letters but with wooden panels which pictures and text were cut into. These are usually relatively small illustrated books, which represent a transitional form between the illuminated manuscript and the illustrated printed book.

Block books still raise numerous questions today for research in the fields of literary and art history and philology, e.g. with regard to the dating of the individual prints, their regional origin as well as their classification into handwritten and graphic image and text traditions. However, the scientific processing of block books is made considerably more difficult by their very problematic conservation status. As the paper sheets are often damaged by paint degradation, the books can only be made available to researchers for inspection in exceptional cases.

Block books are among the rarest and therefore most valuable collection items in libraries. Since only about 100 editions of 33 different works in about 600 copies are known worldwide, the Bamberg collection can be described as quite extensive.

In addition to all five of Staatsbibliothek Bamberg's (Bamberg State Library's) block books and a single-leaf woodcut (VI F 67), two further prints (JH.Inc.typ.IV.322 and JH.Inc.typ.IV.323) are digitally provided here, in which only the title was printed in block, while the rest of the text was printed in movable type.

>> This collection is part of the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg (State Library Bamberg).