Lot 1
  • 1

QUR'AN LEAF IN GOLD KUFIC SCRIPT ON VELLUM, NORTH AFRICA OR NEAR EAST, 9TH-10TH CENTURY

Estimate
10,000 - 15,000 GBP
Sold
43,700 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • 14.6 by 21cm.
Text: Sura al-Tawbah (IX), vv.103-105



Colours and gold on parchment, 5 lines per page written in gold Kufic script outlined in brown, letter-pointing of short brown ink dashes, vowel points of coloured dots, single verse marker consisting of a gold rosette, fifth verse marker consisting of an illuminated roundel containing the word 'khamsa' in Kufic letters

Catalogue Note

This leaf comes from one of only a handful of surviving Qur'ans to have been executed in gold Kufic script. The Qur'an from which the present leaf originates has been attributed on several occasions to Qairawan, apparently because sections of the Qur'an were discovered in the mosque there (Lings and Safadi, nos.16-17; Geneva 1985, no. 1 and several auction catalogues), and indeed a folio recently came to light (Sotheby's, London, 12 October 2005, lot 7) that had an early waqf inscription for the Great Mosque at Qairawan. Nevertheless, the current or even later mediaeval whereabouts of a manuscript does not necessarily indicate its place of origin, and Stanley has pointed out (Quaritch 1213, p.18) that the abjad system used for the verse count in this Qur'an is the so-called 'eastern' abjad, which was used predominantly in the Islamic lands from Syria eastwards. This makes a Maghribi origin (including Tunisia) very unlikely.

Other leaves and sections from the same Qur'an are in various public and private collections, including the following: Tunis, Bibliothèque National, Rutbi 198 (Lings and Safadi, nos.16-17, pl.I-II; Carthage, no.346); Tunis, National Institute of Archaeology (Lings and Safadi, 1976, nos.18-19, pl. ill); Beit al-Quran, Bahrain; The Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait; The Nasser D. Khalili Collection, London (Déroche, 1992, no.19, p.67), and several have been sold in these rooms 12 October 2000, lot 4; 15th October 1997, lot 3; 18th October 1995, lot 16; 28th April 1993, lot 71; 10th April 1989, lot 169 and 10th October 1988, lot 170, where further references are given.

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