Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Qur'an Bookbinding Inset with Turquoise

Object Name:
16th century
Made in Iran
Leather; stamped, painted, gilded, and inset with turquoise
H. 14 in. (35.6 cm) W. (closed) 10 in. (25.4 cm) W. (open) 27 in. (68.6 cm) D. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1956
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
The stamped and gilded techniques used for this leather binding were common in the Middle East, especially in Iran where the art first developed, and in Turkey, where it was perfected. Central almond-shaped medallions and concave fillings in the four corners are common features of Islamic books. Ottoman book covers with this kind of composition and floral design served as models for a great number of Venetian Renaissance bookbindings and, more surprisingly, Venetian furniture as well.
Inscription: In Arabic, enclosed in cartouches along the edges of the front cover.
Sayings of the Prophet in regard to the importance and advantages of reading the Qur'an.

In Arabic, in two cartouches on back cover.
Translation: None shall touch it save the purified ones. A revelation by the Lord of the Worlds. (Qur'an, chapter 16, verses 79-80)
[ John Howell, San Francisco, until 1956; sold to MMA]
Baltimore Museum of Art. "The History of Bookbinding 525–1950A.D.," November 12, 1957–January 12, 1958, no. 87.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gold," April 14, 1973–September 9, 1973, no catalogue.

Corning, NY. Corning Museum of Glass. "Tales from a King's Book of Kings," November 17, 1973–January 31, 1974, not in catalogue.

Baltimore. Baltimore Museum of Art. "Tales from a King's Book of Kings," February 12, 1974–March 31, 1974, not in catalogue.

Paris. Institut du Monde Arabe. "Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797," October 2, 2006–February 18, 2007, no. 129.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797," March 26, 2007–July 8, 2007, no. 129.

Venice. Musei Civici Venezani. "Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797," July 28, 2007–November 25, 2007, no. 129.

Venice. Sala dello Scrutinio of the Doge's Palace. "Venezia e L'Islam, 828–1797," July 28, 2007–November 25, 2007, no. 103.

Gratzl, Emil. "Book Covers." In Survey of Persian Art, edited by Arthur Upham Pope. vol. III, vol. V. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1939. vol. III, pp. 1974-1994, ill. vol. V. pl. 960A, pl. 966A (similar work).

Walters Art Museum. "An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art November 12, 1957–January 12, 1958." In The History of Bookbinding, 525–1950 AD. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 1957. no. 87, ill. pl. XX right.

"Gold." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 31, no. 2 (Winter 1972/1973). pp. 69-121.

Ettinghausen, Richard. "Islamic Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1975). p. 52, ill. (b/w).

Carboni, Stefano, ed. Venezia e l'Islam, 828–1797. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2007. no. 103, pp. 259, 348, ill. p. 259 (color).

Carboni, Stefano, ed. Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797. New York and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. no. 129, pp. 240-241, 334, ill. p. 240 (color).

Denny, Walter B. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. p. 69, ill. fig. 55 (color).

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