Magnificent Illuminated Manuscripts from the Shakerine Collection

Magnificent Illuminated Manuscripts from the Shakerine Collection

The Shakerine Collection includes ninety-four Qur’ans, manuscripts and calligraphic works from Turkey, India, Persia, and the Arab World charting over a millennium of fine manuscript production. The depth of the collection reflects the character of the collector himself: a passionate and private individual whose eye for beauty and cosmopolitan tastes led him to collect widely among paintings and manuscripts.
The Shakerine Collection includes ninety-four Qur’ans, manuscripts and calligraphic works from Turkey, India, Persia, and the Arab World charting over a millennium of fine manuscript production. The depth of the collection reflects the character of the collector himself: a passionate and private individual whose eye for beauty and cosmopolitan tastes led him to collect widely among paintings and manuscripts.

An Illuminated Qur’an, Copied By ‘Abd Al-Latif Al-Sayfi Uzbek, Egypt, Mamluk, Dated 876 AH/1472 AD. Estimate £60,000–80,000

Whilst calligraphy is at the heart of the Shakerine Collection there are also many examples of outstanding illumination, including the gold and lapis of the Mamluk.

This impressive and complete copy of the Qur’an is a great rarity as it was written by a member of the royal family and was intended for either an emir or the Sultan himself. The manuscript was inspected by H.J. Goodacre in 1984, acting Head of the Arabic section in the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed books at the British Library, who noted that "the royal medallion on the last folio indicates that the scribe was at the time himself a Mamluk ruler."

A Monumental Illuminated Qur’an, Persia, Safavid, Mid-16th Century. Estimate £200,000–300,000

The illumination of this manuscript is of a style associated with early Safavid manuscript production and the output of Shiraz in the first half of the sixteenth century.

The first bifolium bears two fine gold shamsas with verse 88 from surah al-Isra (XVII): “If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to each other assistants.” The refinement of this Qur’an, its impressive size and balanced and elegant hand all lead to the hypothesis that it was a royal patronage or a noble commission. With the addition of fine condition, and a distinguished provenance and exhibition history stretching back to the early twentieth century, this manuscript represents one of the finest Qur'ans to have been offered at auction in decades.



The Kitab Hayat Al-Hayawan, Estimate £10,000–15,000

Kamal al-Din Muhammad ibn Musa al-Damiri (d.1405 AD) was born in Cairo where he spent most of his life. A tailor by trade, he later became a theologian and a scholar, compiling books on different subjects, mainly connected to jurisprudence. The Kitab hayat al-hayawan is his most famous work in which he lists circa 1000 animals mentioned in the Qur’an and Arabic literature.

There are three editions of this book: a long version, a medium length one and a short one. The current manuscript, as stated on the title page on f.1a is the longer version. The illustrations in this manuscript are interesting as the hatched shading employed by the artist suggests that they may have been trying to imitate animals depicted in European print sources.

Ibn Sina’s Kitab Al-Shifa,The Book of Healing’. Estimate £15,000–25,000

Ibn Sina was born in 980 AD in Afshana near Bukhara, in Greater Khurasan. His native language was Persian, but, like the majority of scholars of the period, he wrote in Arabic. Thanks to his father's position as an official in the Samanid government, Ibn Sina was given a fine education and his precocity is said to have been such that he quickly surpassed his teachers in knowledge and problem-solving skills.

At the age of eighteen, he became a qualified physician and was hailed for curing the Amir of Khurasan of a severe illness. As a most precious reward he was given access to the extensive library of the Samanid princes, where he would spend countless hours immersed in scholarly work. Known as Avicenna in the West, Ibn Sina can be regarded as the most influential writer in the history of medicine. His unparalleled al-Qanun fi'l tibb or 'The Canon of Medicine', completed circa 1025 AD, gathered the totality of medical knowledge at the time. A dedicated intellectual, he spent the latter part of his life at Isfahan, unexpectedly dying during an expedition to Hamadan in 1037 AD.

The Kitab al-shifa is divided into four sections, on logic, physics, mathematics and metaphysics. In it Ibn Sina discusses the necessary existence of God, the non-material nature of the human soul and the mind, the perception and the sensations.

Islamic Art

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