Art/ Collection/ Art Object


14th century
Attributed to Egypt or Syria
Leather, gold; stamped, tooled
H. 10 5/8 in. (27 cm) W. 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of H. Kevorkian, 1933
Accession Number:
33.103.2a, b
Not on view
A twelve-point star serves as the central motif from which the geometric design of this cover emerges. The leather stain varies between two shades of brown to distinguish the shapes, further highlighted by the use of gold-tooled lines. Blind tooling is also employed to give texture to the leather surface interspersed with gold points. The interior flaps are covered with a lighter brown leather with an arabesque pattern. Two other similar bookbindings (33.14 & 33.103.3) in the collection exhibit the same stylistic characteristics, testifying to the popularity of such elaborate covers for manuscripts. Further, the use of complex geometric ornament as a decorative device in Egypt and Syria during the thirteenth- and fourteenth-centuries was prevalent in an expansive variety of objects, from large wooden furnishings to small portable objects such as this bookbinding.
Hagop Kevorkian, New York (until 1933; gifted to MMA)
Tallahassee. Junior Museum. "The Mathematics of Islamic Art," October 30, 1979–April 30, 1980, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks," November 21, 1981–January 10, 1982, suppl. #3.

Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte islamico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 31.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 31, pp. 106-107, ill. p. 107 (b/w).

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