Lot 3
  • 3

Very large Qur'an leaf in Kufic script on vellum, Near East or North Africa, late 9th-early 10th century

20,000 - 25,000 GBP
66,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • 41 by 56.3cm
Text: Sura Yusuf (XII), vv.3-29

18 lines per page written in Kufic script in brown ink on vellum, vocalisation in red

Catalogue Note

The script on this unusually large Qur'an folio is close to styles D.I-D.Va of Déroche's categorization (Déroche 1992, p.44-45), but there are certain idiosyncracies that mark this script apart from most other examples of Kufic. Calligraphically, the scribe has trailed the nib of the stylus at the end of many of the letters, creating a thin tail, especially on the letters that drop below the line in the terminal form. This is a motif that is present on several types of Kufic script, but not to such an obvious extent as here. In addition the script has a squat, square feel that is different from the open, sweeping curves and horizontals of more standard Kufic scripts (see for example, lot 4 in this sale). There are two other Qur'ans that have related scripts, both are in the Great Mosque at Qairawan (Carthage, nos. 340,353).

Orthographically, the system used for vocalisation is unusual, being a mixture of traditional red dots, as used on most Kufic scripts of the 8th-10th centuries, and an unusual series of additional reading marks consisting of dashes, circumflexes and vertical marks. Interestingly, the two Qur'ans in Qairawan mentioned above also employ similar vocalization marks. It is possible that the script and the vocalization marks were applied at different stages of the Qur'ans early history (see Fraser and Kwiatowski, p.36; Stanley in Quaritch 1213, p.100-101).

Two other folios from this Qur'an were exhibited in the exhibition Ink and Gold in Berlin in 2006 (Fraser and Kwiatowski, op.cit., no.6).