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Near East Collection: Islamic Book and Bookbinding

Exhibits from the Near East Collection at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library & Yale University Library

Exhibit "Islamic Book and Bookbinding"

Persian-style binding: Inlaid medallion design
(18th cent.)

al-Jami` al-wajiz, also known as al-Fatawa al-Bazzaziyah. A compendium of fatwa(s) (religious opinions) written by the Hanafite jurist Ibn al-Bazzaz (d. 1424). This copy was made in Damascus, Syria, in 1126 A.H. / 1714 A.D.
Ruq`ah script. This script spread from Turkey to the Middle East following the Ottoman conquest of the area in 1516-17.

This binding illustrates a method used in the 17th and 18th centuries to produce sharp inlaid medallion designs of the Persian-style binding. The supporting board was hollowed out in the exact shape of the stamp to be used, then the dampened leather was placed over the board. When applied to the leather, the heated stamp molded into the contours of the board and created a deep impression. The gilt patterns were applied to paper, perhaps because paper took the gilding more readily than leather. The paper was then placed between the leather and the stamp, hence becoming sealed to the leather during the stamping process.

Beinecke; Arabic ms. 166