Lot 6
  • 6

Illuminated opening leaf from a Qur'an manuscript on vellum, North Africa or Near East, 9th century

30,000 - 40,000 GBP
50,900 GBP
bidding is closed


  • 19.6 by 28.1cm.
the leaf decorated on both sides with large, rectangular panels of geometric motifs, knotted ropework and foliate border bands finely illuminated in gold with the use of red, green, brown and blue, large, bold illuminated palmettes extending horizontally from the rectangular panels

Catalogue Note

This large vellum leaf, finely illuminated with a range of motifs typical of the 9th-10th centuries, would have formed one half of a frontispiece or finispiece of a Qur'an in Kufic script on parchment. Judging by the scale and quality of this leaf, the Qur'an as a whole must have been a very grand manuscript indeed. Related illuminated folios from Qur'ans of this type are in the Bibliothèque Nationale de Tunis, the Musée des arts islamiques de Qairouan, the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and the Freer Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., and private collections. For illustrations of these examples see: Carthage, nos.341,345,355; James 1980, nos.4,8; Arberry 1967, pls.13-20; Atil 1975, no.5; London 1976, no.503; Splendeur, nos.3,6; Déroche 1992, no.67; Quaritch 1999, nos.1-2.