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Luke Butler

Nottingham Trent University

Thesis title:

Southeast Asian Illuminated Manuscripts: A Study of the Maritime Silk Road Using Scientific Imaging and AI

Maritime Southeast Asia possesses a culturally rich history. From early interactions with mainland Southeast Asia and China, to later commerce with European nations, it is home to many thousands of important manuscripts, mostly dating from the 17th to early 20th centuries, which include languages, materials and art styles from a variety of different cultures – many of which are beautifully illustrated or ornamented.
The main aims of my project are to perform a multimodal non-invasive analysis of the collection of maritime South East Asian illuminated manuscripts at the British Library and to develop AI Machine Learning algorithms to automatically process and analyse large amounts of data. After which, results can be used to determine, or provide evidence of, the materials used in the production of Maritime Southeast Asian manuscripts.

Research Area


Acknowledged in Manuscript Cultures 10, p101-128.
Article: Fakes or Fancies? some ‘Problematic’ Islamic Manuscripts from south east Asia. By Annabel Teh Gallop.


NTU Global Heritage Showcase - May 2018

E-RIHS (European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science) Dissemination Day - March 2019
SPIE O3A (Optics for Art, Arts, Architecture and Archeology) - June 2019
MA-XRF Scanning in Conservation, Art and Archeology - October 2019