Shir Hashirim

Showcase Image
Published by Facsimile Editions

Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs)
Custom Project
Size 39 x 40cm
Private Collection

The Brief

Our brief was simply to "produce something fabulous" with a portfolio of twenty-two illuminated panels depicting the Song of Songs, painted by Leila Ganin in the style of the best Mughal artists. The client wanted 64 copies.

The original artwork was on parchment, mounted on wooden panels but the client wished the facsimile to be in the form of a book.

The Project

As in the creation of the original manuscript, production of its facsimile required innovation at every stage employing a variety of printing processes and complex binding techniques and structures.


High resolution photography by a specialist manuscript photographer is the first requirement after which the first set of 'wet' proofs are made on paper specially selected to match the original parchment. In a painstaking process, we work side-by-side with the original making minute colour corrections to ensure that the second proofs are almost perfect.

The manuscript demanded many different types of printing and other processes to reproduce the multitude of techniques the artist had used to apply burnished gold, flat gold, powdered gold, silver (both flat and powdered), black and red laquer and a faintly visible gold powder in some of the backgrounds.

The scribe's work was no less magnificent. His raised calligraphy was reproduced by employing a silk screen technique to exactly reproduce the original hand-written text.

An elegant pull-out translation was devised and 'hidden' behind every text page so as not to detract from the artwork.


We believe that this Song of Songs is one of the most complicated editions ever published. Over 1,000 pieces of Pentland Goatskin cut by laser were placed by hand in every marquetry binding. The continuous design runs from inside the front cover, over the front cover, spine and back cover and ends inside the back cover.

Commentary Volume

Emile Schrijver, Professor of Jewish Book History at the University of Amsterdam, wrote the commentary volume which is contained together with a portfolio of images in an elegant case to compliment the facsimile. Both the facsimile and commentary with portfolio are enclosed in a slipcase covered in marbled paper custom-made to match the manuscript's colour palette.

An edition of 64 identical copies of a binding of this complexity has, to our knowledge, never before been executed. The two-volume set is housed in a slip-case covered in custom made hand-marbled paper chosen by the client. The single bird on the spine denotes 'volume one', the facsimile, and the two birds 'volume two', the commentary and portfolio of mounted leaves.

Produced in 18 months.

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