Watermark Wednesdays: Hand / glove

hand / glove watermark in Isl. Ms. 1053
Watermark of hand / glove with five-pointed star in Isl. Ms. 1053

This Wednesday's watermark comes to us once again from the Islamic Manuscripts Collection - one of the papers in Isl. Ms. 1053 to be exact. It features a hand or glove motif beneath the outline of a five-pointed star.    

Numerous variations of the hand / glove watermark appear, particularly in European incunabula. A number of additional motifs may appear above the fingers - often on a line extending from the middle finger - or within the palm. These include crescents, crowns, and keys, as well as leaves, flowers or stars with a varying number of petals or points. Further, the fingers may be spread or closed, and the bands of a cuff may or may not appear below the palm.

Piccard watermark collection - Structured view Hand/glove
A few database entries from the Piccard Watermark Collection for watermarks featuring the hand / glove motif with five-pointed star (or five-petalled flower) above.

Various hand / glove watermarks appear in manuscripts produced in the former Ottoman lands during the 16th century. The hands, texts, notes, and name of the second copyist suggest that the various sections of Isl. Ms. 1053 may have been produced in southeast Anatolia.

Watermarks featuring the hand / glove motif also appear in 17th century Egyptian manuscripts. [2] Another manuscript from the collection, Isl. Ms. 44 - likely copied in Egypt in 1648, includes an example.

hand / glove watermark in Isl. Ms. 44 p.528
Another hand / glove watermark in Isl. Ms. 44, p.528.

This watermark features a large glove motif with prominent thumb and and ruffled cuff. Can you spot any other differences?

[1] Piccard Watermark Collection Piccard (Wasserzeichensammlung Piccard), online database at:

[2] See pp.80-81 in Terence Walz, "The Paper trade of Egypt and the Sudan in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries and Its Re-export to the Bilad as-Sudan," InThe Trans-Saharan Book Trade: Manuscript Culture, Arabic Literacy, and Intellectual History in Muslim Africa, Eds. Graziano Krätli and Ghislaine Lydon (Leiden : Brill, 2011): 73-108.

1 Comment

on Oct. 28, 1:58pm

Hello - Could this watermark have any connection to "Hamsa", auspicious symbol in both Judeo-Christian and Muslim traditions? I have been enjoying reading these comments and looking at the watermark examples. What a lovely idea, if possible please continue Watermark Wednesdays.