A method of decorating a bookbinding in which the
design is cut into dampened leather instead of
being tooled or blocked. The design is first
outlined with a pointed tool and then dampened. It
is then brought into relief by depressing the
background, usually by stamping a succession of
dots into the leather very close together by means
of a pointed tool. Certain parts of the design are
sometimes embossed from the flesh side of the
leather, and in such cases the decorating must be
done before covering.
This technique of embellishment, which may well
have been the highest manifestation of the
medieval bookbinder's art, was widely practiced
only during the 15th century and only in certain
areas, principally southeastern Germany and in
Spain. No English and Flemish and practically no
Italian examples are known.
The finest cuir-ciselé bindings have been
identified as the work ofMAIR JAFFÉ .
More recent (and excellent) examples were produced
in France by MARIUS
MICHEL ,c 1866. (141 , 236 , 291 , 347 )