Coptic Stitch Binding

The Coptic Stitch

The Coptic stitch is one of the oldest bookbinding stitches still used by book artists today.  As early as the 2nd century AD, binders used the stitch, sometimes covered in a leather wrapper, though other times left with an exposed spine.  One of the earliest extant group of codices are the Nag Hammadi Codices from the 3rd/4th century AD.  (That collection of books, and the historical structure of Coptic bindings, are explained in the linked Nag Hammadi page.)  

While this binding style fell out of fashion after the 11th century, contemporary book artists have brought the stitch back in force.  It is now a highly popular structure for artisanal books, such as those sold at craft fairs, on Etsy, or other craft oriented sale sites and book stores.  (For images and videos of these modern interpretations, see the linked contemporary book artists page.) 

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