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Re: Islamic and African Bookbindings (long)



I have seen a number- but the specific type I mentioned had the dimension of
about 6x8"- about an inch thick (the Qur'an in the arabic script is about the
size of the New Testament). It was made with leather.  Some had only a
foredge flap- the one with three flaps were all triangular- 2 shallow ones at
top and bottom- one broader at the foredge- the same degree of depth  over
the text- and totally symetrical triangles.  these flaps were attached from
the back cover (the LEFT cover in Arabic Books) and were closed upon the text
prior to the front cover.  The whole was placed in a vertical "pocket book"
style of slip case- the usual type associated with Islamic books- a ribbon
was attched inside to facilitate the removal of the book..  This was then
worn around the neck.  The portfolio and the slip case were made from
leather, and I have seen a variety of decorative techniques utilized in their
construction- including blind tooled line work, stamping, though on more
popular types I had seen stiched on leather shapes- like conchas on a belt,
sometimes made from fur- I have also seen a little fur button on the outside
of one that was used as part of the closure of the slipcase.

It's very common in all muslim countries that women wear a tiny Quran in a
jewelry case.  Similar models in leather are also executed. Very often the
foredge flap was eliminated in this case.

I should also mention another Islamic structure worth noting- that is the
Sanjak Qur'an.  These were miniature Quran's that were bound in leather, and
were shaped octagonally (rather than the usual rectangular book we know),
since at least the Mamluk period.  These were then placed within a receptacle
in the top end of the staff bearing the Battle Standard.  The purpose was
talismanic.

Hope this helps,

Jake Benson


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