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Re: Minsky's reliquary

Rezan Peya Gökçen wrote:

> Although the decoration recalls the complicated geometric
> intertwined patterns in the Islamic art, it is certainly an
> imaginative piece of > work and not a boring repetition of
> old models. It is not a tight or > trite composition covering
> obsessively the whole surface; the colored  shapes surprise
> us emerging here and there within the decorative scheme.

Thank you for the review. The above description accurately captures the essence
of my intent. This is an outgrowth of the work I did previously employing
Islamic art, which began with the second binding concept on Holy Terror: Inside
the World of Islamic Terrorism by Amir Taheri (1990).

I attempted there to find a relationship between the concept of the Jihad (Holy
War) and bookbinding design. On the earlier binding of this text I had used a
quote from the Koran foil stamped in 23k gold on purple vellum on the cover,
which for this version was used as the flyleaf:

    The unbelievers follow falsehood while the believers follow the Truth.
    When you meet the unbeliever strike off his head, and when you have
    laid him low, bind him firmly.

This passage enables the Jihad (and is, of course, eminently appropriate for a
binding). I then went to the Brooklyn Museum and studied their 15th and 16th
century Koran bindings, which were painted leather, and saw that they were
entirely covered in pattern, filled in to the point where there was no room for
any more filling. I realized that this paralleled the fundamentalist state of
mind behind the Jihad, as all the spiritual, temporal, and methodological spaces
had been filled in, leaving no room for new ideas. For the second binding on the
Taheri book I did a "Pop" version of the total pattern lacquer binding. It's at


For the current version of my Reliquary for the Ashes of Salman Rushdie's
Satanic Verses (subtitled The First Amendment), I took the basis of Islamic
pattern concepts, including some classic patterns, and amended the design to
reflect the notion that Rushdie brought contemporary ideas into a traditional
framework, which caused his books to be burned and a Fatwah to be issued (if you
kill him you go directly to heaven and collect a million dollars). My design
breaks the "grid," and the spaces are not all filled in, which allows room for
the imagination. This book was selected to represent The First Amendment in my
Bill of Rights edition because it clearly represents what happens in countries
where the freedoms of Press, Speech, Religion, and Assembly are not guaranteed.

If you haven't seen it, it's at:




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