13
13
An illuminated Qur’an section, probably Egypt or Syria, Mamluk, second quarter 14th century
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
13
An illuminated Qur’an section, probably Egypt or Syria, Mamluk, second quarter 14th century
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Arts of the Islamic World including Fine Rugs and Carpets

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London

An illuminated Qur’an section, probably Egypt or Syria, Mamluk, second quarter 14th century
Surah al-Ahqaf (XLVI) to surah Qaf (L)
Arabic manuscript on paper, 40 leaves plus 1 fly-leaf, 5 lines to the page written in fine muhaqqaq in black ink, ruled in gold, black and blue, verses marked by gold pointed rosettes, the margins with different shaped markers in gold, blue and green, 4 surah headings written in white ornamental Kufic against a cobalt blue ground decorated with gold scrolls within a gold cartouche, f.1b and 2a with a fine polychrome and gold frontispiece, f.2b and 3a with a lavishly illuminated bifolium, decorated with three lines of black muhaqqaq within clouds against an etched ground with tri-dots, missing one leaf at the end, in brown leather binding with a central oval medallion, with flap
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Catalogue Note

This lavishly-illuminated section comes from what must have been an impressive Qur’an in several volumes. Its decoration and illumination recall both Ilkhanid court production as well as early Mamluk manuscripts, rendering it testament to these cross influences at the beginning of the fourteenth century.

The fact that it starts with verse 1 of surah al-Ahqaf and ends with surah Qaf, makes this section a part of juz XXVI, missing only the first thirty verses of surah Adh-Dhariyat (LI).

The opening illuminated frontispiece, with a central octagonal star outlined by white dotted strips with interlacing patterns, floral buds and gold palmettes all on a blue ground recalls three frontispieces all attributed to the fourtneeth-century Mamluk Near East. This decoration can be compared to the frontispiece of a Qur’an published in James 1988, p.147, cat.20, dated 739 AH/1338-39 AD and attributed to Damascus; the frontispiece of a Qur’an dated 757 AH/1356 AD and attributed to Egypt, published in Lings 1976 cat.74 p.120, and lastly a Qur’an dated to the first quarter of the fourteenth-century and donated by Sultan Faraj ibn Barquq to a mosque in Cairo, now in the British Library inv.no.Or.848 (online at https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/sultan-farajs-quran). 

The decorative structure with split-palmettes alternated by buds and flowers on the outer border in reminiscent of the frontispiece of an Ilkhanid Qur’an dated 741 AH/1340-41 AD (inv.no.TIEM452), published in Şahin 2010 p.250. However, the presence of decorative Kufic against interlacing scrolls, points towards a Mamluk attribution. Another interesting aspect of this section is the ground on the opening page. The text is within clouds against an etched ground which is also decorated with a three-dot motif. This design is also found in an Ilkhanid Qur’an section sold in these rooms, 25 April 2018, lot 8 or in a late fourteenth-century Mamluk juz now in the Topkapi Palace Library, inv.no.TIEM562, published in Şahin 2010 p.263.

The verses are punctuated by elaborate markers composed of a central gold roundel encircled by interlacing palmettes or petals in blue, light blue and green. These fine markers also recall those found on Ilkhanid manuscripts and show the strong link between the Mesopotamian and Mamluk traditions. For similar verse markers or marginal medallions see an Ilkhanid Qur’an dated 741 AH/1340-41 AD (inv.no.TIEM452), published in Şahin 2010 p.250.

Arts of the Islamic World including Fine Rugs and Carpets

|
London