What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by



  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Book cover with painted illustrations on both sides. Outside illustration depicts a daytime scene in a Zenana, or harem. A man is shown embracing a woman before attendants, musicians and dancers. An ornate floral band with a background in black and borders in green and gold frames the image. Inside illustration also depicts a scene in a Zenana, but at night. A man is shown playing an instrument beside a woman smoking a water-pipe with an attendant, musicians and a dancer. A tray depicted at centre is laden with serving ware, and various fruits and candles appear throughout the scene on the carpets. Concentric bands of black and red with gold border the image. Lacquered on board (?) or papier mâché (?).


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 19thC
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 36.6 centimetres (cover panel)
    • Width: 29.1 centimetres (includes part of leather binding)
    • Width: 29 centimetres (cover panel only)
    • Thickness: 0.4 centimetres (cover panel)
  • Exhibition history


    2012 Nov, Paris, Institut du Monde Arabe, 'Arabian Nights'

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Middle East

  • Registration number


Book cover. Zenana. Night time harem scene showing a man with a woman and an attendant, musicians and a dancer. Lacquered on board (?), papier mâché (?).

Book cover. Zenana. Night time harem scene showing a man with a woman and an attendant, musicians and a dancer. Lacquered on board (?), papier mâché (?).

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: RFM504

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help