Partie d'un important coran, Iran, art abbasside, fin du Xème-début du XIème siècle
- encre noire et rouge, gouache et or sur papier
This rare and early Qur'an is written in a vertical format on paper. Whilst Qur'ans were produced at this time on vellum and in an horizontal format, the use of paper has occurred earlier in the Eastern Islamic lands due to the arrival of the technology for making paper through the capture at a battle near Samarqand in 751 AD of Chinese prisoners, including paper-makers. Thus as early as the 8th century paper was used in the East of Iraq (F. Déroches, Manuel de codicologie des manuscrits en écriture arabe, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 2000, pp. 57-58). Only five extant folios from this same Qur'an are recorded : two folios are in the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division, Washington, DC, 20540 (call number 1-89-154.177ab) ; one folio is in Detroit Institute of Art (Accession no.25.81.B) and two folios in The Brown University Library, Providence (Accession no.A983, manuscript 39, folio 2). The script, surahs headings and the illumination features in this manuscript are rare in style and different from the other Eastern kufic Abbasid Qur'ans published or appeared at auction. One double-page from a parchemin Qur'an, attributed to Ibn Muqla's conserved in the Raza Library in Rampur and published in S.S. Blair, Islamic Calligraphy, Edinburgh University Press, 2006, p. 160, fig.5.7, dated AH 32?/91? AD, shows very close characteristics and identical illumination features with the surahs headings on a red decorated background and the cartouche with a white braded motif on gold background at the end of our manuscript.