By Sheikha Al-Loughani
KUWAIT, April 18 (KUNA) -- Since early days of the state, Kuwaiti leaders and officials tapped all means to protect official documents and manuscripts from counterfeit, watermarked papers was most common among them.
A watermark is a faint design made in some paper during manufacture that is visible when held against the light and typically identifies the maker.
Britannia watermark shows a large oval enclosing a seating crowned lady (Britannia) who holds a flower in one hand and supports a spear by the other hand, Kuwaiti researcher Sheikha Suaidan said in a researcher paper published in the "Kuwait Message" journal of the Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait.
She pointed out that despite the diversity of papers used by Kuwaitis in the past, including Indian, Turkish, Italian, Norwegian and English paper, the examination of the watermarks of each kind shows Kuwaitis were specifically fond of the English paper.
British Britannia watermark emerges as the most prevalent in historical Kuwaiti manuscripts, she said.
It stated that many of the documents, manuscripts, bonds, cables and purchase lists in Kuwait were written on paper containing the Britannia watermark.
Britannia watermark was found in documents date back to the era of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah (the seventh ruler of Kuwait) and Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (the 10th ruler of the State of Kuwait), Al Suaidan unveiled.
The Britannia was usually printed on cream laid papers, she said.
She noted that the exact date of the original design of the Britannia watermark was not known.
Suaidan, however, said that Britannia is similar to Pro Patria watermark which was first introduced by Dutch paper-makers before it was replicated with minor changes at a large scale in early 17th century.
This watermark was used by Britain later in official papers, and Italy used in printed papers in 1818, she said.
Later, the watermark became a trend in many countries of the world, especially in the United States of America.
On the Arab region, Suaidan said the Arabs researchers believe that the first appearance of watermarks on Arab documents dates back to the late seventh century of Islamic calendar, 690 AH corresponding to 1291 AD.
In modern time, watermarks vary greatly in their visibility; while some are obvious on casual inspection, others require some study to pick out. Various aids have been developed, such as watermark fluid that wets the paper without damaging it.
A watermark is very useful in the examination of paper because it can be used for dating, identifying sizes, mill trademarks and locations, and determining the quality of a sheet of paper. (end) sal.ibi