|Book Design and Book Binding
Iranians from ancient time have had a deep appreciation for the written words. Thus, the dried-mud tablets and rock-relief may be considered as early "books". Among the most ancient Iranian books of the historical period, the Zoroastrian religious texts, that is the Din-dabireh and the Gathas of the Avesta, can be cited.
Within the collection on display, the earliest examples are fragments of the Holy Qur'ans belonging to the 9th century AD, written on deer-skin. Soon after the acceptance of Islam by Iranians, our Muslim ancestors devotedly set upon copying early Qur'an in Arabic 'Kufic" script. Consequently, the books written until the 11th and 12th centuries are noted to be in this script. Later, with the gradual appearance of changes in Kufic calligraphy, more elaborate, flexible scripts such as Thulth, Reyhan, Naskh and Divani emerged.
With the establishment of paper mills in Iran, using natural material such as animals' skin and leather became obsolete. Alongside this technical advancement, efforts were gradually undertaken to broaden the scope of book decoration. Thus, exquisite motif were created to be used as frontispieces of chapters, especially for copies of the Qur'an, and to be executed by able artists. Finally, the combination of pliant floral motifs with angular geometric patterns, a sophisticated synthesis was achieved, and was fully used in handwritten books of subsequent centuries.
During the 14th century. AD and the two following centuries, the art of the book making reached its peak of perfection, and handwritten Iranian books became an amalgamation of all the arts of their time, all the crafts and methods favored by connoisseurs of arts and sciences.
From the 16th century AD to contemporary time, the execution of sublime lacquered paintings based on flowers and birds, and also human portraits, became popular in designing on book covers. This technique was continually used until the advent of printing in Iran.