The manuscript collection of Safvet Beg Bašagić is a corpus of manuscripts of inequable graphic quality. There are manuscripts here written neatly as well as manuscripts written by not exactly a clerkish hand, not only in the general sense of graphic neatness, but also concerning the representation of the above-mentioned graphic faces of the Arabic script - naskh, taclík, nastaclík, díwání etc. In this collection, whose manuscripts originate in the era and the territory of the Ottoman empire, manuscripts written in nastaclík prevail, without respect to the language of the document (Arabic fig. 0318, 0320, 0464, Turkish fig. 1054, 1066, 1070, Persian fig. 1078, 1146 [bold letters], 1163, 1178 et al). A more decorative type of script, taclík, popular in the region of Iran, was used to copy numerous manuscripts of the works of Persian literature (fig. 1147, 1148, 1151-1155). Naskh, the simple copier's script, is found in most Arabic manuscripts (fig. 0286, 0340, 0341, 0383, 0805-0807 et al.). This type of script, so characteristic of the Arab world, is present also in Persian (fig. 1087) and Turkish texts (fig. 0986, 1006, 1018 et al.). In cases, where the work represents a combined text, such as the basic text and the commentary on the latter, the texts are usually graphically distinguished by using a different type of script for each: naskh and nastaclík (fig. 1167). Copies written in rikca (fig. 1033-1035, 1076-1077) or the office script díwání (fig. 935, 954) are rare among the manuscripts of Bašagić's collection.
Illustrated manuscripts are but few: two astronomical documents, one of them Arabic (fig. 0293), the other one Turkish (fig. 0431), containing schematic drawings, complementing the explanation of the text (fig. 0608-0612, 0895-0913), and one document (No. 189) containing miniatures of the shrines in the both holy cities of Islam - the Kacba in Mekka (fig. 0396) and the mosque over the tomb of Prophet Muhammad in Medina (fig. 0397).
This small manuscript has, besides the two miniatures, board papers decorated with a golden floral design (fig. 0395), and the same golden design complements the bottom of the golden frame enclosing the text (fig. 0394, 0402). A floral arabesque decorates also the end of the epilogue of the splendid manuscript No. 431 (fig. 0914 - sr.fig. 895-913).
Floral designs in various colours fill also the rubrics of the text that always begins on the back of the first leaf. These decorative rubrics are called cunwán. Such adornment of the beginning of the work was quite usual, especially in later manuscripts. This is why we may find in this collection rather many manuscripts decorated in this way. The basic part of this rubric is generally a horizontal rectangle, filling the full width of the text, placed on the frame enclosing the text area. This frame juts above the decorative rubric on both of its sides, usually up to top edge of the page. The top of the base rectangle is variously shaped. It can take the form of an arch or a more or less sharp cusp, often wavy and accompanied by other decorative elements - flower buds, plant leaves or geometric patterns. The space between this shape and the side lines of the frame and the top edge of the page is often filled with filamentary vertical strokes complemented by leaves and/or flowers. The middle part of the base rectangle may contain a rectangular or a differently shaped medallion with the title of the work or an invocation to God. Such decorative rubrics can be found in many manuscripts of the collection. Some of them are relatively simple (fig. 0873, 0932, 0952), but majority of them is rendered in colours and gilded. Rubrics consisting of a simple gilded rectangle are present in one manuscript (fig. 1206), simple rectangles with rich colour decoration are in four manuscripts (fig. 0982, 1014, 1200, 1238). One manuscript has rubrics in the form of a rarely occuring triangle (fig. 0385). Rubrics with various extensions above the base rectangle are found in several manuscripts. There are, first of all, rubrics with an extension in the shape of a low pyramid (fig. 0656), a dome (fig. 0937) or other triangular, variously convex extensions (fig. 0660, 0891, 1024, 1151, 1156). All of these intricate rubrics are colourful, often with predominating gold colour (fig. 1196) and a stylized floral decoration. Four manuscripts have rubrics with rather complicated extensions in the form of a tricuspid canopy (fig. 0318, 0398, 0392, 0889) above the base triangle, always richly adorned. In one case is the top of the rubric in a very rare shape of a spheric object consisting of long bent leaves with flowers in the centre (fig. 0817).
Besides this decoration at the beginning of the text, it was sometimes usual to adorn the heads of chapters with a similar pattern, in the form of a rectangle in the full width of the text (fig. 0890, 0892, 0893). Very rare was a decoration at the end of the text, again with a design analogical to that of the rubric. (fig. 0914).
An important place among the manuscripts in Bašagić's collection in the University Library in Bratislava belongs to manuscript sign. TC 20 (No. 466), that was made for the library of the otherwise unidentified Mameluke emir Khoshgeldi, the sultan's secretary of state (davádár). It is evidenced by a decorative ex-libris (fig. 0983) in the form of a medallion taking a whole page. Another medallion (fig. 0985) of the same size and floral and acanth design bears the name of another Mameluke emir, Majduddín Banání Bek al-Jamálí.
Texts were written on insets (kurrása) made by folding a sheet of paper (farkh). These insets were stitched and the stitched insets were fastened together and so a volume (jild) was made. Since Arabic script is written from right to left, the back of a volume is on its right side. The volume is generally given a protective binding. According to the value of the volume and the work contained, and according to the wish of its owner, the binding was of a higher or lower quality. Most volumes were full-bound. Such a binding consisted of two pieces of cardboard, leathered from the outside; sometimes from the inside too, in which case the board could be papered to cover the cardboard and the enfolded margins of the outer leathering. The leather was usually lambskin. The cardboard slip on the back was also fastened to the both boards by a piece of leather. A part of the front board was the so-called miklab, a sort of bookmark, consisting of a cardboard slip, slightly narrower than the back of the book and a kind of tongue in the length of the boards and roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of their width. This miklab was inserted between the volume and the back. Its purpose was to protect the front edge against damage in case the front edge of the volume faced the front edge of another volume. This could happen easily, because books in a library were piled horizontally rather than put in stand-up position and usually with the tail edge facing the observer. Miklab could also be used as a bookmark. Only books with a hard board binding had such a miklab. Besides the full-leather binding with hard boards, there was also a full-leather binding without an underlay. Books used to be bound in soft boards without cardboard and with a leather back. Books were sometimes protected by leather boxes (zarf), underlaid with cardboard, with a shutter at the bottom side and a cord that enabled the safe pulling of the book out of the box. The title used to be written on the shutter.
Book bindings were often decorated. Beautiful Korans excel in rich binding decoration, consisting of intricate geometric patterns in colours and rich gilding. However, minor texts also have bindings richly decorated with printed geometric arabesques or medallions (fig. 0120, 0160, 01085, 1258) and corner filling with herbal designs (fig. 0894, 0984), or a simple framing in the colour of the leather, or gilding (fig. 0319, 0393, 1157). The same decoration was used to adorn the miklab of the volume. The technique of binding with layered leather enabled decorating the boards with perforation or slashing and creating plastic geometric arabesques and floral designs. Later, in the Iran of 18th and 19th centuries, the technique of lacquer boards was developed, with colourful floral ornaments, sometimes in combination with a plastic decoration.