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Details & Cataloguing

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An illuminated leaf from a frontispiece, Timurid, Persia, 14th/15th century
opaque pigments heightened with gold on paper 
folio 29.5 by 20.1cm.; 11 5/8  by 8in.;

text panel 22.5 by 13.3cm.; 8 7/8  by 5 1/4in.
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Catalogue Note

Lavishly decorated and gilded, this frontispiece is an excellent example of high quality Timurid arts of the book. It is particularly notable for the complexity of its design, which comprises calligraphic script, polychrome floral motifs and a beautifully executed construction based on circles and semicircles in the central panel. The two sura headings are framed by fine gilded bands and show titles written in kufic against blue background with gold decoration. The border of the main panel incorporates stemmed, gilded leaves and red florets. These are distinctive characteristics of a style of illumination that Zeren Tanindi calls ‘naïve’ and which originated in Fars but spread to Yazd, Herat and India in the fifteenth century (The Art of the Qur’an, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington D.C., 2016, p. 106).

The style of illumination of this frontispiece can be compared to that found in a single-volume Qur’an (dated 787 AH/1385 AD) in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul (TIEM 11, ibid., pp. 218-21). The design of its central area, with a balanced composition of  overlapping geometrical shapes, is also similar to that in the illuminated frontispieces of a Qur’an (W.559.2A, dated 723 AH/AD 1323) made during the Ilkhanid period, now in the Walters Art Museum in  Baltimore.  Comparable compositions and motifs can also be found in manuscripts of poetic texts, such as in a Kalila wa Dimna copy made in Herat in the fifteenth century, now in the Topkapi Saray Library (R. 1022, f. 2b-3a, published in Ute Franke and Martina Muller-Wiener (eds.), Herat Through Time The Collection of the Herat Museum and Archive, Berlin, 2016, p. 451). 

Boundless: Dubai

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Dubai