Our Arabic Artistry journal series is inspired by a binding that once contained a precious copy of the Koran. It dates to the 17th century, when luxurious Arabic court life helped to inspire a supremely refined design aesthetic.
This Zahra cover design is emblematic of an era when books were major investments. They were used as valuable donations to charitable foundations, presented as treasured gifts to heads of state and much sought after as status symbols.
Today, the binding is held in the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf, Germany. It came to the museum from the collection of Dr. Franz Joseph Bock (1823–1899), a clergyman, art historian and significant book collector.
The delicate design reflects the superb quality of work found in the ancient Islamic world. Inspired by the floral pattern, we’ve named this book Zahra, meaning flower, blossom and beauty in Arabic.