AN ILLUMINATED QUR’AN JUZ (XXIX), COPIED BY ZAYN AL-‘ABIDIN B. MUHAMMAD AL-KATIB, PERSIA, AQQOYUNLU, DATED 888 AH/1483 AD
AN ILLUMINATED QUR’AN JUZ (XXIX), COPIED BY ZAYN AL-‘ABIDIN B. MUHAMMAD AL-KATIB, PERSIA, AQQOYUNLU, DATED 888 AH/1483 AD
AN ILLUMINATED QUR’AN JUZ (XXIX), COPIED BY ZAYN AL-‘ABIDIN B. MUHAMMAD AL-KATIB, PERSIA, AQQOYUNLU, DATED 888 AH/1483 AD
121

AN ILLUMINATED QUR’AN JUZ (XXIX), COPIED BY ZAYN AL-‘ABIDIN B. MUHAMMAD AL-KATIB, PERSIA, AQQOYUNLU, DATED 888 AH/1483 AD

Estimate: 50,000 - 70,000 GBP

AN ILLUMINATED QUR’AN JUZ (XXIX), COPIED BY ZAYN AL-‘ABIDIN B. MUHAMMAD AL-KATIB, PERSIA, AQQOYUNLU, DATED 888 AH/1483 AD

Estimate: 50,000 - 70,000 GBP

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Lot Details

Description

AN ILLUMINATED QUR’AN JUZ (XXIX), COPIED BY ZAYN AL-‘ABIDIN B. MUHAMMAD AL-KATIB, PERSIA, AQQOYUNLU, DATED 888 AH/1483 AD


surah al-Mulk (LXVII) v.1 to surah al-Mursalat (LXXVII), v.50

Arabic manuscript on paper, 28 leaves, 7 lines to the page, the first and seventh line in black muhaqqaq, the fourth line in gold thuluth and the remaining lines in black naskh, ruled in gold and black, verses separated by gold and blue rosettes, polychrome and gold teardrop marginal verse markers, 9 surah headings in gold thuluth outlined in black against a ground filled with polychrome and gold interlacing scrolls withing a cartouche outlined in blue, f.1a with an inscription in gold, f.1b and f.2a with a polychrome and gold frame, f.28a with the colophon written within clouds, in brown stamped leather binding with a central almond-shaped medallion


text panel: 24.6 by 19.3cm.

leaf: 36 by 28.8cm.

Condition Report

The margins have been cropped and there are traces of restorations affecting mainly the lower side of the manuscript, various stains and traces of dump, some rubbing and smudges, minor holes, f.1a with creases and losses to the ink which makes part of the text illegible, the opening bifolio in overall good condition, the lower corners of the pages restored, smudging and losses to the ink and gold, the associated binding restored and with minor scratches, as viewed


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Cataloguing

Catalogue Note

This juz comes from a fine Royal Qur’an dedicated to the Aqqoyunlu ruler Ya’qub Beg (r.1478-90), and represents one of the finest examples of the juxtaposition of different styles of calligraphy, where the scribe Zayn al-‘Abidin has alternated his use of muhaqqaq, thuluth and naskh, in a fine exercise of balance and elegance.


The mixture of different calligraphic styles within the same text is called juxtaposition. This practice, sporadically used in the twelfth century, became much more common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, especially in Central Asian. Zayn al-‘Abidin b. Muhammad al-Katib al-Shirazi was undoubtedly a master of this technique and in the different volumes of this Qur’an, he tries to alternate between as many of the 'Six Pens' as possible. The partly legible inscription on f.1a mentions a dedication to the Aqqoyunlu ruler Ya’qub ibn Uzun Hasan Abu’-Fath (r.1478-90).


The Aqqoyunlu rose to power in the middle of the fourteenth century in the region of Eastern Anatolia and Azerbaijan. They submitted to Timur and fought on his behalf against the Ottoman empire and Bayazid I. Uzun Hasan (r.1457-78), the father of the ruler to whom this Qur’an juz is dedicated, was a brilliant military commander who spear-headed the expansions East, defeating the Qara Qoyunlu and extending the empire up to Khurasan and Iraq. Uzun died in 1478 and was succeeded for a brief period by Sultan Khalil and then Ya’qub. Under Ya’qub's twelve-year rule, the Aqqoyunlu kingdom enjoyed a period of relative calm. They fought briefly against the Ottomans in 1479 and the Mamluks in 1480. But Ya’qub’s biggest problems were internal frictions with an internal movement developed from the Safawiya order, and guided by Shaikh Haydar, as well as protests regarding a tax reform unpopular with the clerics.


Yaq’ub’s court, following the tradition established by his father, flourished during his reign. Many scientists and scholars were employed at the court, amongst them Fazlallah Khunji Isfahani, who was asked to write a history of the Aqqoyunlu dynasty. Ya'qub was interested in Chaghatay poetry and is known to have also commissioned a copy of Mir Haydar Khawarazmi’s Chaghatai poem Makhzan al-Asrar ('Treasury of Secrets') completed on 24 August 1478, now in the New York Public Library (Pers. Ms.41, see Blair 2006, p.52). Several calligraphers are recorded working under Uzun’s and Ya’qub’s patronage: Shaykh Mahmud (for more information on this scribe see Sotheby’s London, 20 April 2016, lot 19); 'Abd al-Rahim al-Ya'qubi (see Sotheby’s London, 22 April 2015, lot 69); Zayn al-‘Abidin b. Muhammad al-Katib al-Shirazi (scribe of the current juz), Fakhr al-Din Ahmad (see Sotheby’s London, 24 April 2013, lot 23) and Abu al-Makarim Ibn Ali Murshidi (the scribe of lot 132 in the current sale).


Zayn al-‘Abidin b. Muhammad al-Katib al-Shirazi, scribe of the current juz, was a prolific artist. As well as the present Qur’an, he also completed a single-volume Qur’an (dated 876 AH/1471 AD) copied for the Royal Library of Abu’l-Fath Muzaffar al-Din Hasan Bahadur Khan, which must be Uzun Hasan (A. Golchin-Ma’ani, rahnama-ye ganjineh-ye qur’an, Mashhad 1347sh, cat.no. 64, pp.147-9). He was also a teacher of calligraphy (a copy of Rumi’s Mathnavi dated 869 AH/1464-65 AD is in fact signed Ahmad al-Katib al-Shirazi, student of Zayn al-‘Abidin b. Muhammad al-Katib, see Christie’s London, 21 April 2016, lot 80).


Other recorded sections of this Qur’an:


Juz I: Private collection, UK.

Juz II: Sotheby’s London, 19 April 1983, lot 187 (forthcoming lot 10 in the Shakerine Collection (L19224).

Juz III: Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, inv.no.Ms.1502, published in Arberry 1967, p.45.

A leaf from juz XVI (f.1b of the illuminated frontispiece), Sotheby’s London, 8 July 1980, lot 161.

Juz XXVI: Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, inv.no.Ms.1501, published in Arberry 1967, p.45.

Two ajza' (numbers unknown) recorded as being in the Mashhad Shrine Library and published in Faza’ili (atlas-e khatt, Isfahan, 1391, pp.334-5).

Arts of the Islamic World
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