Historical period(s)
Ottoman period, 17th century
Gilded leather over pasteboards
H x W: 22 x 40.6 cm (8 11/16 x 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

Book cover

Henri Vever collection, Ottoman period (1307 - 1922), Turkey, WWII-era provenance

To 1930
Gaston Migeon (1861-1930), Paris, France. [1]

Sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, March 18-21, 1931. [2]

To 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France. [3]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France. [4]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France. [5]


[1] 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. 399. See also Tableaux modernes, objets d’art d’Extrême Orient composant la collection de M. Gaston Migeon (Paris: Hôtel Drouot, 1931), p. 59, no. 345.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

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

[5] See note 4.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Hotel Drouot
Henri Vever 1854-1942
Gaston Migeon 1861-1930
Francois Mautin 1907 - 2003


An inscription, "Only the pure may touch it," suggests that this fine leather binding was intended for a copy of the Qur'an, although similar covers were used for secular manuscripts. Gold leaf highlights were created on block stamps, then pressed into the leather to leave a finely sculpted impression. The lavish application of gold leaf underlines the importance of manuscripts, such as the Qur'an, in the Islamic world.

Published References
  • 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. 475, p. 377.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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