Binding for the Mantiq al-tayr (Language of the Birds)
Farid al-Din `Attar (ca. 1142–1220)
Leather, gold, and color; carved, impressed, and gilded
13 x 8 1/2 in. (33 x 21.6 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1963
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
This is an elaborate example of the most common type of Safavid binding. Based on the Timurid-style binding, it contains a central medallion, quadrants, and a border of panels. The field pattern was created by stamping a mold on the surface of the cover made of leather and paper; first the upper half of the binding was stamped and then the mold was reversed to stamp on the lower half. The border pattern was also created by stamping. The doublures are decorated with delicate leather filigree work dividing compartments with orange, brown, blue, and green ground.
Shah Abbas I, Isfahan, Iran (ca. 1600–1608; presented to Ardebil Shrine); Ardebil Shrine, Iran (ca. 1608–sack of Ardebil, 1826); M. Farid Parbanta(until 1963; sale, Sotheby's, London,December 9, 1963, no. 111, to MMA)