Doublure of a bookbinding

Historical period(s)
Safavid period, 17th century
Cut leather and multicolored paper
H x W (image): 25.8 x 16.6 cm (10 3/16 x 6 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Bookbinding cover (doublure)

Henri Vever collection, Iran, Safavid period (1501 - 1722), WWII-era provenance

From at least 1932
M. H. Sevadjian. [1]

To 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France. [2]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France. [3]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France. [4]


[1] The object is documented to have appeared in the collection of M. H. Sevadjian by at least April 13, 1932. See Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 7: Chart of Recent Provenance" in An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection, Glenn D. Lowry et al (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 398.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See the Agreement for the Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection of January 9, 1986, Collections Management Office.

[4] See note 3.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

H. Sevadjian
Henri Vever 1854-1942
Francois Mautin 1907 - 2003


During the Safavid period, many bookbindings were also decorated on the interior surface. Known as the doublure, this elegant example is inscribed with six lines that refer to the art of writing:

 Ink was brought from the soot of the night, 
 Paper from the luminous morning. 
 The seven globes of the universe turn at the foot of 
 your calligraphy by Divine grace. 
 O Lord, what can the pen of your might do? 
 Calligraphy worthy of sovereignty.

Published References
  • H. Sevadjian. Publication title unknown. cat. 82, p. 22, pl. XIII.
  • Sheila R. Canby. Shah 'Abbas: The Remaking of Iran. Exh. cat. London, February 19 - June 14, 2009. cat. 46, pp. 82-83.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Susan Nemanzee. A Jeweler's Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 75, pp. 216-217.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 474, pp. 376-377.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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