The medieval European chirograph provided a means of securing a contract in a written, material form. The terms were copied two or three times on a single sheet of parchment which was then divided into as many pieces with a sawtooth or wave edge. Each party to the contract as well as a mediator kept a part. The individual parts could be fitted together at a later date to prove (or resolve) the contractual obligation. Depending on the nature of the contract (debt, payment, title etc.) these parts could also, in theory, be transferrable. Their latent value was preserved and authenticated by the inimitable "tooth" of the cut edge. From this comes the word "indenture", i.e. an obligation held fast by the contractual 'teeth' of the document.

The works below are constructed very loosely around this idea.


chirograph (lathed)

three chirographs

asymmetric chirographs

tripartite chirographic form