Lot 22
  • 22

A Large Qur'an written for Fath 'Ali Shah Qajar (r.1797-1834), copied by Muhammad 'Ali Al-Katib Al-Sultani Ibn Abdul Rahim Al-Khwansari, with lacquer binding signed by Ahmed Shirazi, Persia, Qajar, dated 1241 AH/1825 AD

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
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  • INk, Gouache & Gold on Paper
Arabic manuscript on paper, 294 leaves, 14 lines to the page written in neat and bold Naskhi script within cloudbands against a gold ground throughout, with Persian interlinear translation, verses separated by gold florets embellished with blue, red and white dots, sura headings in gold Thuluth in gold ground panels decorated with interlacing palms and split palmettes with blue borders, margins ruled in colours and gold, commentary in Persian in the margins written diagonally, 3 opening double page frontispieces composed of prayers and the names of the surahs in small silver and gold ground boxes in black, red and blue, the Qur'an opening with a wide outer border of dense interlacing scrolling tenfrils interspersed with cartouches filled with cloudbands and split palmettes, strapwork borders of punched gold, further red, blue and yellow borders, numerous pages with margins filled with leafy enjoined flowers, and eight pointed star illuminated medallions enclosing the name of Sultan Fath 'Ali Shah in gold Thuluth, lacquer binding with covers decorated with flowering naturalistic plants, with border scrolls in gold and text panels filled with calligraphy, red doublures, each with a symmetrical pattern of large gold flowers

Catalogue Note

This Qur'an was copied by the order of the Qajar King Fath 'Ali Shah (r.1212-50 AH/1797-1834 AD) by the royal scribe Muhammad 'Ali son of 'Abd al-Rahim al-Khwansari in rabi' al-awwal 1241 AH/October-November 1825 AD.

Muhammad 'Ali also copied another two Qur'ans also commissioned by the King as well as prayer books, dated between 1238 AH/1822-3 AD and 1249 AH/1832-3 AD, all in the Gulistan Palace Library. The only recorded example of his work outside the Royal Library is a calligraphic page dated 1207 AH/1792-3 AD (see Mehdi Bayani, ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vol.IV, Tehran, 1358 sh., p.180; B. Atabay, fehrest-e qur'anha-ye khatti-ye ketab-khaneh-ye saltanati, Tehran, 1351 sh., cat. nos.113 and 123).

This copy of the Qur'an does not bear any notes or seal impressions, which may indicate that it had left the Royal Library by Nasr al-Din Shah's reign (1848-96). Like the other two Qur'ans in the Gulistan Palace Library, it bears illuminated cartouches with the name of Fath 'Ali Shah written in gold on the top margin of the last folio, as well as others in the outer margins in the text. The Qur'an also includes marks for divination written in the top right-hand corners of the versos. The covers contain quotations from the Qur'an copied also by Muhammad 'Ali.  The painter of the lacquered covers has given his name in a Persian couplet (not all deciphered) as Ahmad and is dated rabi' al-thani 1241 AH/November-December 1825 AD).