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Oil painting of man sitting by a rough sea

Arts of the Book, a permanent exhibition of almost 600 objects from the museum’s collections displays books from the ancient world, including the world famous Chester Beatty Love Poems (c.1160 BC), Egyptian Books of the Dead and beautifully illuminated European manuscripts. One of the highlights is the display of Western book-bindings (5th-20th century) and Old Master prints. The exhibition also explores the arts of the book in the Middle East and India, with examples of narrative illustration, portraiture, fine calligraphy, mapping, and the use-life of books – how books reflect their readers, and how artworks on paper were collected in albums. Highlights from East Asia include one of the finest collections of Chinese jade books in the world, Japanese picture-scrolls depicting fables and legends, and deluxe woodblock prints. Audio-visual programmes complement the exhibition, helping the visitor to learn more about the arts of the book throughout the world.

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