Binding pages in a protective cover was and still is an important step in producing manuscripts and books. The flat surfaces of these covers, both inside and outside, give craftsmen of all ages the opportunity to use them for decorative purposes, as well to include information about the book itself. Using examples from the Aga Khan Museum Collection, Bita Pourvash explores various decorative techniques such as tooling, stamping, filigree, gilding, and lacquer painting, with a focus on Iranian bindings of the 15th to early-19th centuries.


Bita Pourvash is a Curatorial Assistant at the Aga Khan Museum. She is a graduate from the University of Toronto’s Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Department. Prior to joining to the Museum, she was working on the history of collecting Islamic Art in the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum, which is included in the forthcoming volume Canadian Contributions to the Study of Islamic Art and Archaeology. She was a lecturer at the York University, Semnan University, and the Higher Education Center for Iranian Heritage. She is the author of the entry on bindings that is translated and published in Encyclopaedia Islaimica.

The Last Addition, the First Impression: The Art of Bookbinding

Free with Museum admission