Craft: Iran

Book Binding and Book Covering

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History
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In early 7th century A.D., Mishin (sheep hide), Timaj (goat hide) and other special leathers were used in book covering.

Covers of every old books were made of wood with leather cover, containing simple geometrical images, with no coloring or gilding. Maybe the first cover belonged to "Manafeol-heyvan" book (13th century A.D.).

In early 15th century A.D., when the Art Center moved from West to East, Herat became the second Art Center after Samarkend and leaded a wide part of countries of region in preparing and creating new and advanced methods of book preparation. One of its flourish periods was 15th century A.D. at the time of Timur's deputy, "Shahrokh Mirza", who was very interested in this art. After him, his son, "Baisonqor Mirza", established the greatest libraries and book workshops in Iran, which was another beginning in Iranian book making. He gathered all artists from all over country in this center. Art activities of these workshops reached Tabriz, Isfahan and Gourkanian's Court and lasted for almost 100 years.

In the middle of 13th century A.D., medallion image for decorating covers, cover decorating and  corners decorating became more complicated and more different; therefore, decorating of book covers with stamped images started.

In Safavid era, like other art branches, book making and book covering changed essentially in decorating style and methods. The most important change is using stamp in image creation.

In 17th century A.D., an essential change happened in the art of book covering in Iran.

In 18th century A.D., covers with monotonous designing ground were made. Designs were often drawn instead of stamping.

In 19th century A.D., under the influence of European Art, covers with no curved edges were made. Common covers of this period were "tree covers", which originated in 10th century A.D. and it is said, that "Agha Mirak" was its creator.

Different kinds of leather, such as Timaj, Mishin, Shebro, Saqari, Bolqar and also engraving and brocade were among various types of book covers, which contain various decorative images.

Combination of these images, regarding the shape and also the place on front or back of the cover, are called "Shamseh", "Medallion", "Medallion Head", Inscriptive", "Corner" and "Checker". These decorations were made by using of techniques like "stamping", "hot-stamping", "inlay" and "oil".

 

 

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