Binding for the Mantiq al-tayr (Language of the Birds)

Author: Farid al-Din `Attar (ca. 1142–1220)

Object Name: Bookbinding

Date: ca. 1600

Geography: Made in Iran, Isfahan

Medium: Leather, gold, and color; carved, impressed, and gilded

Dimensions: 13 x 8 1/2 in. (33 x 21.6 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1963

Accession Number: 63.210.67


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.