Traditional Binding

Binding is a protective and decorative, hard or soft cover used to keep book pages together. The Turkish word for binding, cilt means leather in Arabic, which is actually the main binding material. Masters of traditional binding art are called mücellid and mücellid.

The first Turkish bindings were made by Uighur Turks in the 7th century. Traditional binding was firstly developed for the purpose of protecting books however with the spread of Islam and the Koran it quickly became an art field in the Islam world.

Turkish Islam binding art has been divided into several genres such as Hatayî (Kaşan, Dehli, Horasan, Buhara), Herat (Herat, Shiraz, Esfahan), Arab (Al-Jazeera, Haleppo, Damascus), Rûmî (Seljuk), Memlûk (Egypt), Mağribî (Andalucia, Sicilly, Morocco), Turkish (Diyarbakır, Bursa, Edirne, İstanbul. Şükûfe, Barok and Lâke are also included in this genre) and Buhârâ-yı Cedîd.

The bindings have different names with respect to their material and embroideries such as murassa, lake, çarküşe, zerduz, yekşah.

Classic Ottoman binding was the greatest representative of the Turkish and Islam art of binding in the 15th and 16th centuries, and reached its maturity during the empires of the Sultans Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Mehmet II) and Suleiman the Magnificent. Evliya Çelebi wrote that in the 17th century in Istanbul, 300 mücellids were working in 10 workshops in Istanbul. Starting with the 19th century with the use of machinery, handmade bookbinding became less popular.