The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
The earliest entries dated back to c.III 2100 (c.500 by the Shire-reckoning); survived at least until the end of the Third Age
Location
The library at Great Smials1
Race
Culture
Family
Settlements
Meaning
'Yellow' is a reference to the ageing of the book's pages; 'skin' is perhaps a reference to the material from which its pages were made2
Other names

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About this entry:

  • Updated 17 February 2018
  • This entry is complete

Yellowskin

The Yearbook of Tuckborough

One of the few historical records kept in the Shire, Yellowskin was a book of extraordinary age, said to contain entries dating back some nine hundred years before the War of the Ring. This would place the first entries in the book at about III 2100 (or some five hundred years after the founding of the Shire). It contained chronicles of the Took family, including not only marriages, births and deaths, but also legal details and references to important events in the Shire as a whole. Yellowskin became a source for much of the historical information, especially about the Tooks, to find its way into the Red Book of Westmarch.

The name 'Yellowskin' presumably derives from the aged and decayed condition of the book, suggesting that the records of the Tooks were recorded on vellum, or some other form of parchment. These materials were made from animal skins, and so 'Yellowskin' would be a literal description of the nature of the book.


Notes

1

It is never explicitly said that Yellowskin was held in the library of Great Smials, but there can be little reasonable doubt on the point. Given that the book was more formally known as the 'Yearbook of Tuckborough', and that the library of Great Smials was also called the library of Tuckborough, it seems safe to place Yellowskin on the shelves of the Tooks' library at their family seat of Great Smials.

2

The use of the word 'skin' in the name 'Yellowskin' implies that the book - or at least its earlier pages - were made of vellum or parchment rather than paper. These materials were made from refined animal skin, typically calfskin, and were commonly used for preparing documents in medieval times. The implication is that the Shire-hobbits also used these old writing materials in their ancient past, though we have numerous examples to show that by the end of the Third Age the Hobbits had moved on to the point where the use of paper was commonplace.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 17 February 2018
  • This entry is complete

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