During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, silver bookbindings were made to cover the personal copies of small bibles, songbooks and prayerbooks belonging to the upper classes. The manufacture of this type of silver bookbinding took place almost exclusively in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. This binding covers one of the most popular German devotional books of the time, the "Paradijs Gartlein" of the Lutheran theologian Johann Arndt, first published in 1612. The binding was possibly engraved by Philipp Holeisen of Augsburg, and the images were probably inspired by contemporary printed engravings. Both covers of this binding have a silver panel peirced and engraved with floral scrollwork enclosing five cartouches on a ground of sheet silver, formerly gilt. The silver spine is pierced and engraved in a similar manner. There are two silver clasps on the foredge, the boards of the book are wooden, and all edges of the textblock are gilt.
Illustrated: engraved silver bookbinding, late 17th century; German