Miniature Book News # 14: 1968 December Page: 2
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through which can be seen the
binding of a copy of Schloss's
2 - contains a copy of the 1896 Galileo,
the smallest book printed
with movable type, bought in
Florence, and case made in London.
3 - The Rose Gardon of Omar Khayyam,
1932, bought in Boston, and
the case made in London.
4 - The Farewell Address of George
Washington, 1929. Case made by
a friend who is a very skillful
5 - Schloss Bijou Almanack in its
slip case, enclosed in a gold
case found in an antique shop in
6 - contains a copy of the Koran. The
opposite side of this case, which
is probably Egyptian, shows a
cypher in Arabic surmounted by
7 - contains The Addresses of Abraham
Lincoln. The finely engraved
case could be late 18th or early
The famed New York Auction firm of
Parke-Bernet publishes a monthly magazine,
named appropriately AUCTION, which
contains articles on a variety of subjects
related to Books, Art, Auction sales, etc.
Some months ago Parke-Bernet asked
your editor to write an article on miniature
books for one of its issues. The result appeared
in the September, 1968 issue. We
felt this would be of interest to our readers,
particularly because the subject is treated
differently from previous articles on miniature
books. Thus, we are reproducing this
article in its entirety below. Some of the
photographic reproductions are darker than
we would have liked, and those photos that
have not already been seen in previous
MBN issues will be used in later articles
Figure 6. The New Testament # #hortwting, by Jeremiah Rkch, London,
c. 1660, 2. by 19/16".
By Julian I. Edison
Almost as old as the written word is its presentation in
miniature form. A miniature book is generally defined as one
approximately three inches tall or less, but at times up to
four inches when the book is considered to be miniature in
purpose or impression. Tiny books have been produced for
reasons of practicality, curiosity and aesthetics, limited only
by the printer's skill and the binder's imagination.
Among the earliest examples of writing in miniscule form
are Babylonian clay tablets. Inscribed in cuneiform, many of
these tablets measure less than two inches high, and date from
around 4,000 B.C. Such tablets were among the first documents
used to record legal contracts, bills of sale and the like.
An Egyptian scarab (Figure
1) from hundreds of years
later-about 1,400 B.C.--commemorates
the marriage of
Amenhotep III and Queen Tiy,
whose son was Ikhnaton. This
scarab is among the earliest
dated tokens of Egyptian high
Figure 1. Egyptian scarab, c. 1400 B.C., cosmsorating tke marrmiog of
Asmeshotep III and Queer Tiy.
The world's first printing on paper is recorded on a scroll
2%/ inches long. Known as the D'harani (prayer), this scroll
was produced from wood blocks in 770 A.D. by order of the
Japanese Empress Shotoku, who wished the little prayercharms
distributed throughout her country to spread the influence
of Buddhism. Several thousand of these Buddhist prayerscrolls
were printed in Chinese characters and encased in
charming wooden pagodas (Figure 2), a project requiring six
years to complete. The D'haranis were then divided among
ten Japanese temples, nine of which were destroyed by fire.
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Edison, Julian I. Miniature Book News # 14: 1968 December, periodical, 1968; St. Louis, Missouri. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9450/m1/2/: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Rare Book and Texana Collections.