Once upon a time, before instant Kindle books, before Amazon, before Barnes & Noble, before the printing press, books were made by hand. From scratch. They made the paper (and before that, they made papyrus and parchment) and wrote each word. At some point, pages were bound together with leather covers, but there were many collections of pages wrapped in covers, like you see here. The books might be stored in wooden chests, or on ceramic shelves.
A quick side note here: if you've traveled in the Middle East, you may have come upon wall cubbies, like this:
They are NOT book shelves - these are dovecotes, where they raised small birds as food. OK? back to books...
However they were stored, when danger threatened in Timbuktu manuscripts/books were hidden in chests and buried, or smuggled away for safety from invaders.
In any Google image search of 'Timbuktu Libraries', you come across this image, of a scholar with metal cases of manuscripts. Is he packing them away, or examining the uncovered treasure? You also find pictures of plain old wooden chests:
These 2 chests have damaged paper linings. The one on the right seems to be lined with the comics page of a newspaper.
this is one of my favorites - 3 open wooden chests, stuffed with books, with more piled on top. I love the textural pattern of this literary treasure.
In addition to the books, I needed images of crates, so I collected a variety of them, and started seeing how they would work as line drawings:
Next post will have the finished design, and the finished tablet.