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. Delicate leather filigree was often reserved for inner covers (doublures), where it would be less susceptible to damage.
This binding probably belongs to a book produced in Safavid Iran during the early 17th century.
The dark chestnut-coloured leather outer covers, excessively worn, are decorated with an oval medallion with pendants and cornerpieces. The cornerpieces are filled with large flowers and leaves whose shape is not the same as those inside the oval medallions. The decoration is stamped and gilded. The central medallion may be a later addition.
The red leather doublures are in a better condition. The cornerpieces and central oval medallion with pendants have a blue ground overlaid with gilded filigree in a design of large flowers and leaves. A cloud band motif in the medallion adds complexity to the composition. Clearly, decoration on the doublure is the work of a master binder.
 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.
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
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