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In 1519, William Horman could write in his Vulgaria: "That stouffe that we wrytte upon, and is made of beestis skynnes, is somtyme called parchement, somtyme velem, somtyme abortyve, somtyme membraan." To-day the distinction, among collectors of manuscripts, is that vellum is a highly refined form of skin, parchment a cruder form, usually thick, harsh, less highly polished than vellum, but with no distinction between skin of calf, or sheep, or of goat.
French sources, closer to the original etymology, tend to define velin as from calf only, while the British Standards Institution defines parchment as made from the split skin of several species, and vellum from the unsplit skin.
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) is prepared animal skin or "membrane" used as a material for writing on.
Parchment is another term for this material, and if vellum is distinguished from this, it is by vellum being made from calf skin, as opposed to that from other animals, Vellum is generally smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation and the quality of the skin.
[Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus] CSI: Ancient Egypt Barabe and his colleagues specialize in thorough investigations of old — or supposedly old — documents and artwork.The manufacture involves the cleaning, bleaching, stretching on a frame (a "herse"), and scraping of the skin with a crescent-shaped knife (a "lunarium" or "lunellum").To create tension, scraping is alternated with wetting and drying.A final finish may be achieved by abrading the surface with pumice, and treating with a preparation of lime or chalk to make it accept writing or printing ink.In Europe, from Roman times, the term "vellum" was used for the best quality of prepared skin, regardless of the animal from which the hide was obtained, calf, sheep, and goat all being commonly used (other animals, including pig, deer, donkey, horse, or camel have been used).