Lot 1
  • 1

A Qur'an Bifolium in Maghribi Script, North Africa or Andalusia, late 12th-13th century AD

25,000 - 35,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • ink on paper
  • 33.3 by 16.2cm. approx. each leaf
Arabic manuscript on thick pink paper, 5 lines to the page, written in large Maghribi script, letter pointing (i'jam) and vocalisation in gold and silver, verses separated by illuminated roundels containing 'abjad letters in blue, white and red, 1 leaf with a surah heading in gold with strapwork borders and a medallion extending into the margin, end of surah XXIII marked by a drop-form marginal illumination

Catalogue Note

This is a fine example of Islamic manuscript production from the Muslim west, and the twenty-volume Qur'an from which this leaf originates is remarkable in many ways. It was written on paper, which in medieval Islamic Spain was unusual, vellum still being the preferred material for the writing of the Qur'an; the paper was dyed pink, a rare luxury aspect; the script is a fine example of large scale Maghribi (the marking of the hamzas indicating a probable Andalusian origin) and the spacious arrangement of the script on the page allowed for the clear marking of the diacritics and vocalisation in colours and gold and the elaborate illuminated devices between verses. A particularly unusual aspect of the verse divisions is the use of abjad letters to mark the exact verse count of every verse. The illumination of the devices marking the verse divisions is of very high quality and the size of the devices allows the use of a relatively complex design, as witnessed in the present example.

A bifolium from the same manuscript is in the David Collection, Copenhagen (see von Folsach 2001, no.5, p.57). A section from the same Qur'an, containing 215 leaves, formerly in the collection of Maréchal Lyautey, was sold at the Hotel Georges V, Paris, 30 October 1975, lot 488, and subsequently in these rooms, 14 April 1976, lot 247. Two further leaves from that section were sold in these rooms, 23 April 1997, lots 42 and 43, whilst a bifolium and a single leaf were sold 15 October 1998, lots 10-11. Most recently, two bifolia were sold in these rooms 6 April 2011, The Stuart Cary Welch Collection Part One, lot 11, and 3 October 2012, lot 17. A further gorup of six leaves is included in this sale as lot 8.