codex binding


Illuminated Manuscript, Koran, Frontispiece, Walters Art Museum, Ms W.563, fol. 5b by Walters Art Museum
Via Flickr:
This large-format, illuminated Timurid copy of the Qur’an is believed to have been produced in Northern India in the ninth century AH / fifteenth CE. The manuscript opens with a series of illuminated frontispieces. The main text is written in a large vocalized polychrome muḥaqqaq script. Marginal explanations of the readings of particular words and phrases are in thuluth and naskh scripts, and there is interlinear Persian translation in red naskh script. The fore-edge flap of the gold-tooled, brown leather binding is inscribed with verses 77 through 80 from Chapter 56 (Sūrat al-wāqiʿah). The seal of Sultan Bayezid II (1481-1512 CE) appears on fol. 8a. There is an erased bequest (waqf) statement and stamp of Sultan ʿUthmān Khān (1027-31 CE) on fol. 3a.


Hello Mini-Monday fans! 

Today we have the very tiny and very lovely Codex Argenteus (The Silver Bible), from Uppsala University in Sweden, 1959.  The interior silver structure is a tiny replica of the 1662 binding of the Codex Argenteus, a manuscript which dates from the early sixth century, written during the period of Ostrogoth rule in northern Italy.  It contains fragments of the four gospels in the Gothic language, translated by the Bishop Ulfilas.  The manuscript is important because it is a rare example of the now extinct Germanic language. The codex itself, bound hundreds of years later in silver by the Count M.G. De La Gardie, was presented to Uppsala University in 1669.  All of this information and more is included inside this tiny pamphlet, translated into four different languages. 

Codex Argenteus (The Silver Bible), from Uppsala University in Sweden, 1959.  Un-catalogued miniature.

-Laura H.


Inside the Codex Rotundus lays a 266 page book of hours in Latin and French.

The manuscript is unique in form and size: the pages are cut approximately circular in shape and measure a little over 9cm in diameter. The book binding feat here is enormous: since the layers are bound together on a mere 3cm book spine, the body of the book must be held together by 3 clasps.

The original clasps were re-used when the book was rebound in the 17th century; each clasp an artful monogram shaped in the form of different gothic alphabetic letters.