- Recto and verso
. These are terms of art in the binding, printing, and publishing industries, and can be applied more broadly to any field where physical documents are exchanged.
The term recto-verso describes two-sided printing. It is the norm for books, but was an important advantage of the
printing-pressover the much older Asian woodblock printingmethod, which printed by rubbing from behind the page being printed, and so could only print on one side of a piece of paper.
The distinction between recto and verso can be convenient in the
annotationof scholarly books, particularly in bilingual editiontranslations.
A religious scripture that makes use of the recto and verso distinction is the
Ginza Rbaof Mandaeism, in which two separate narratives cover the opposite-facing pages.
The "recto" and "verso" terms can also be employed for the front and back of a one-sheet artwork, particularly in
drawing. A recto-verso drawing is a sheet with drawings on both sides, for example in a sketchbook—although usually in these cases there is no obvious primary side. Some works are planned to exploit being on two sides of the same piece of paper, but usually the works are not intended to be considered together. Paper was relatively expensive in the past; indeed good drawing paper still is much more expensive than normal paper.
A 2001 exhibit at
Fogg Art Museumat Harvard University displayed recto-verso drawings from the Renaissance to the present.
Obverse and reversein coins
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