Arts of the Book: Manuscripts, Folios, Bindings
Gilt-Stamped Brown Morocco Book Cover
Safavid, 16th century CE
Materials and technique
Leather with filigree
50.5 x 36.7 cm
A beautifully written Qur’an was complemented by a beautiful binding. Safavid leather binding production reached a high point in the sixteenth century, partly as a response to the demand for deluxe royal and commercial manuscripts and bindings. This Safavid doublure, the inner side of the book cover, has an elaborate pattern of filigree ornament in cartouches over a polychrome painted ground. Characteristic of Safavid covers from the mid sixteenth century onward, the roots of this style belong with the fifteenth-century Timurid and Turkmen period bookbinders of Shiraz (Tanindi in Thompson and Canby, 2003, ch. 6). The eleven cartouches on the outer side of the book cover are inscribed in thuluth script with two hadith of the Prophet that discuss the importance of reading the Qur’an.
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