The Museum is temporarily closed in support of public health efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Go here to learn more.
The dark chestnut-coloured leather bookbinding outer cover, excessively worn, are decorated with an gold oval medallion with pendants and cornerpieces. The decoration is stamped and gilded.
AKM984, Binding, outer covers and doublures

© The Aga Khan Museum

The red leather bookbinding interior cover. The cornerpieces and central oval medallion with pendants have a blue ground overlaid with gold gilded filigree in a design of large flowers and leaves.
AKM984, Binding, outer covers and doublures

© The Aga Khan Museum

Click on the image to zoom

Binding, outer covers and doublures
  • Accession Number:AKM984
  • Place:Iran
  • Dimensions:18.8 x 11.7 cm 
  • Date:early 17th Century
  • 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

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.

-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.

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

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.

news_icon

Get connected. Stay engaged. Sign up for the latest updates from the Aga Khan Museum