Watermark Wednesdays: Bow and arrow

Bow and arrow watermark in Isl. Ms. 78 p.38

Bow and arrow watermark appearing in Isl. Ms. 78, p.38

This Wednesday's watermark comes to us once again from the Islamic Manuscripts Collection - one of the papers in Isl. Ms. 78 to be exact.

It features a bow and arrow motif similar to no. 12346 of the Piccard Watermark Collection [1].

Inventory J 340, Piccard watermark collection No. 123436
Bow (with arrow) motif, Piccard no. 12346

Many European papermakers employed bow motifs in their watermarks. Crossbow motifs (often in circles) are the more familiar bow motif featuring in the watermarked papers employed in many Islamic manuscripts, particularly those produced in the former Ottoman lands during the 16th and 17th centuries. Briquet attributes these encircled crossbow marks to Italian production. [2] At least 22 volumes from our Islamic Manuscripts Collection feature some sort of paper with crossbow watermark.

Crossbow motifs similar to those encountered in the papers of some 16th and 17th century Islamic manuscripts, from Briquet Online
Crossbow motifs resembling those encountered in the papers of some 16th and 17th century Islamic manuscripts (from Briquet Online [3]).

Isl. Ms. 78 is one of the earliest manuscripts in our Islamic Manuscripts Collection copied on watermarked paper. Though in fact multiple papers were used, including one non-watermarked paper[4], the entire transcript is in the same hand and was completed in 1401 or 2. 

In addition to the paper watermarked with bow and arrow motif, the codex also includes a paper watermarked with what appears to be a motif of a tower with three merlons. 

Watermark of what appears to be tower with three merlons in Isl. Ms. 78
Tower with three merlons [?] watermark in Isl. Ms. 78, p.56

This mark only vaguely resembles tower examples in Piccard and Briquet dated to the late 16th century and is of course much earlier.

Tower with three merlons watermark, Piccard 100313
Tower with merlons watermark, Piccard no.100313
Watermark of single tower, crenelated and on a kind of console, Briquet
Watermarks featuring a single tower, crenelated and placed on a kind of console in Briquet Online

Perhaps a precursor to these later marks? Or a three-fingered glove (ha!)? Certainly a curiosity! What do you think?


[1] Piccard Watermark Collection (Wasserzeichensammlung Piccard), online database at:
http://www.piccard-online.de/einfueh.php?sprache=en

[2] See Briquet, Les Filigranes, v.I, p.49 ff. (ed. of 1907 available online via the HathiTrust Digital Library)

[3] Briquet Online, database accessible at: http://www.ksbm.oeaw.ac.at/_scripts/php/BR.php

[4] In addition to the watermarked papers, a portion of the transcript (all in the same hand) is on a non-European, non-watermarked paper, likely of Arab production with chain lines in groups of threes (possibly twos as well). See the catalogue record for more details.

 

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