Pierced with Delight


(Freeville, New York: Carol Schwartzott, 2007). 283 x 170 mm. (11 1/8 x 6 5/8"). [31] leaves.Translated by Edward FitzGerald. No. 4 OF 25 COPIES, SIGNED BY SCHWARTZOTT in pencil on the colophon.

Very pretty light-blue cloth, sunken central panel with a pierced frame revealing an elaborate floral design, smooth spine. Housed in the original blue folding box covered with silk and with a printed paper label. Six colorful floral devices, six hand-marbled Japanese paper dividers, five tipped-on prints finished by hand with color pencil, paint, and silver and gold leaf, each of these prints preceded by two vellum paper windows (one laser cut and one printed) in the style of a Persian arch, plus one additional laser-cut vellum leaf preceding the text. Initials printed in purple, blue, pink, green, and gold, text in dark purple. ◆Hint of soiling to cloth box, but the book in mint condition.

This elegant edition of the Rubaiyat was beautifully illustrated, designed, and bound by book artist Carol Schwartzott, who first became interested in "Omar" after "finding a beautiful little leatherbound version at a secondhand bookstore." As she muses in her introduction, "Interpretation is the essence of the Rubaiyat. . . . Does the Rubaiyat describe godliness and spirituality according to Sufi mysticism? Or does it simply unveil the essence of carpe diem--the imperative to seize life and enjoy every minute of it. Perhaps, this ambiguity is why so many centuries later it still remains unique in its duality." This limited edition certainly walks the line of spiritualism and pleasure: Schwartzott's use of a pastel palette, semi-transparent leaves of vellum paper, and marbling techniques create a dreamy landscape for the reader to discover 75 quatrains of Omar Khayyam's verse as translated by Edward FitzGerald, while the different materials and beauty of the artist's work offer sensory delight on every page. But before one encounters the considerable enjoyment of the interior of the book, the intricately pierced binding provides a striking source of preliminary enjoyment. Schwartzott's work is represented at a number of prominent institutions, including the Smithsonian American Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Walker Art Center.

Price: $1,200.00