Lot 4
  • 4

A Qur'an Leaf in Kufic Script on Vellum, North Africa or Near East, 9th century AD

Estimate
16,000 - 20,000 GBP
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Description

  • Ink & Gold on Vellum
  • leaf: 32.2 by 23cm.
text: surah al-Dahr (LXXVI), verse 1 to part of verse 4
Arabic manuscript on vellum, 7 lines to the page written in elongated bold kufic script in brown ink, vocalisation marked by red dots, verses marked by triangular clusters comprising 6 gold dots, wide outer margins, numbered in arabic numerals at the top, bottom left and centre

Catalogue Note

Produced in North Africa when Qu'ran production was at its apogée, these Qur'an folios are recognisable for their strong and disciplined hand, as well as the exaggerated mashq that is present here. They are also distinguishable by the numbering of the folios at the top and bottom centre, as seen on this page, and in those displayed at the Museum für Islamische Kunst. This leaf originates from the same manuscript as those exhibited at the Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin during the Ink and Gold Exhibition (see Fraser and Kwiatkowski 2006, pp.40-41, cat.8). With fewer than five verses to each page, this Qur'an probably extended to multiple volumes, all executed on high quality parchment, with script displaying a subtle yet stately elegance. The present leaf is in remarkable condition with clearly legible and bold script, and extremely well preserved illuminated verse markers on either side. 

Other sections from this Qu'ran are in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (James 1980, p.18, no.5), The Iran Bastan Museum, Tehran (Ms. 4289, Lings 1976, no.5), and the Pars Museum, Shiraz. A leaf from a similar Qur'an, also a seven-line folio, which was produced by an atelier associated with the Great Mosque of Qairawan, is illustrated in De Carthage à Kairouan-2000 ans d'art et d'histoire en Tunisie, Paris, 1982, p.245, no.328.

Various other folios from this Qu'ran displaying the same strong aesthetic features have come to auction, including two leaves sold in these rooms 14 April 2010, lots 1 & 5, 1 April 2009, lot 2; another bearing the illuminated heading of Surat al-Haaqa, sold in these rooms 9 April 2008, lot 15 and a leaf of the Surat Nuh sold in these rooms 24 October 2007, lot 4. 
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