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Flap of a red leather bookbinding with gilt stamped scroll border, and a blue medallion in centre along with the corners. The medallion, as well as the corner pieces are outlined with gold.
AKM997, Binding flap: outer and inner

© The Aga Khan Museum

Flap of a black leather bookbinding, with gold panel gilt-stamped Chinese cloud motifs.
AKM997, Binding flap: outer and inner

© The Aga Khan Museum

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Binding flap: outer and inner
  • Accession Number:AKM997
  • Place:Iran, Shiraz
  • Dimensions:19.2 x 7 cm
  • Date:1490-1520
  • Materials and Technique:Leather, pasteboard, gold, blue paint
  • Durable yet easily decorated, leather presented an ideal material for protecting Islamic manuscripts. Some particularly fine bindings executed in the 15th century even featured different designs on the upper and lower covers.[1] Delicate leather filigree was often reserved for inner covers (doublures), where it would be less susceptible to damage.

Further Reading

The decoration on the outer flap of this partial binding indicates the work of a master binder. The central field of the chestnut-coloured leather is recessed and decorated with a two-tiered stamped design of scrolling branches and small flowers overlaid by cloud motifs. This decoration is gilded and blue paint has been applied to the flowers in places. Inside the narrow border is a stamped band of branches and leaves.

The light chestnut-coloured inner flap is decorated with cornerpieces and half-medallions that are painted blue and overlaid with leather filigree in a design of branches, leaf-shaped (rumi) motifs, and flowers.

The cloud motifs on the flap’s exterior point to its possible origins in Shiraz.[2] These motifs are similar to cloud bands featured in book illumination and binding decoration produced there during the Akkoyunlu Turkoman and Safavid periods, roughly from 1490 to 1520.

- Zeren Tanındı

Notes
[1] Oktay Aslanapa, “The Art of Bookbinding,” figs. 38, 48, 51; Julian Raby and Zeren Tanındı, Turkish Book Binding in the 15th Century. The Foundation of an Ottoman Court Style, 106–25, cat. 1–4.

[2] Lâle Uluç, Turkman Governors, Shiraz Artisans and Ottoman Collectors: Sixteenth-Century Shiraz Manuscripts, figs. 42, 47–48, 49.

References
Aslanapa, Oktay. “The Art of Bookbinding.” The Arts of the Book in Central Asia, 14th–16th Centuries, ed. Basil Gray. Paris and London: UNESCO/Serindia Publications, 1979, 59–92. ISBN: 9780877731658

Raby, Julian and Zeren Tanındı. Turkish Book Binding in the 15th Century. The Foundation of an Ottoman Court Style. London: Azimuth editions on behalf of l'Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, 1993. ISBN: 9781898592013

Uluç, Lâle. Turkman Governors, Shiraz Artisans and Ottoman Collectors: Sixteenth-Century Shiraz Manuscripts. İstanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası, 2006

Note: This online resource is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. We are committed to improving this information and will revise and update knowledge about this object as it becomes available.

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