Binding of a Devotional Manuscript

Location: Iran

Materials: papier-mâché boards, painted and varnished; leather spine

Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.2cm (each board)

Accession Number: MSS 211

Other Notes:

The binding is attached to a book of prayers with a dedication dated 1247 AH (1831–2 AD) from ‘Abbas Mirza, the son of Fath ‘Ali Shah Qajar, to his son Muhammad Mirza, who later ruled as Muhammad Shah. The book also bears an impression of the seal of ‘Abbas Mirza, dated 1214 AH (1799–1800 AD).

The covers bear a fine design of massed flowers and gold tendrils on an imitation-tortoiseshell ground. This composition is framed by a triple border, with a floral repeat pattern on black between two narrower bands of gold floral scrolls, also on black. The doublures have a red ground decorated with large floral scrolls in gold and enclosed by a narrow black border.

The decoration is signed in a fine nasta‘liq hand, ‘Painted by the pen of ‘Ali, the servant of the Shah’s majesty’. There are no published pieces signed in the same manner.


N.D. Khalili, B.W. Robinson & T. Stanley, Lacquer of the Islamic Lands, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XXII, Part One, London 1996, cat.140, pp.162–3.