A QUR’AN, SUB-SAHARAN WEST AFRICA, SECOND HALF 19TH CENTURY
Arabic manuscript on watermarked paper, 403 leaves, 15 lines to the page, written in Ifriqi script in dark brown ink, vocalisation in red, verses separated by yellow or green dots, surah headings in red, polychrome verse markers circular or rectilinear, opening and closing folio with polychrome geometrical decoration, in a brown leather binding, with flap
leaf: 22.5 by 16.6cm.
The margins clean, some pages, including the first one, with tears, possibly incomplete, some stains and rubbing, 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."
N. Safwat, A Collector’s Eye. Islamic calligraphy in Qur’ans and other manuscripts, London 2010, no.50, pp.206-7.
Three watermarks are recorded in different pages: the tre lune with the countermark ‘AC’; the capital letters ‘SSB’, and a watermark with three moon faces. The presence of these watermarks helps in dating the manuscript. While the tre lune watermark was common in the Mediterranean from the sixteenth century, the three moon faces became popular only around the early 1840s (Brockett 1987, p.49). Paper was often stock-piled and combined, which explains the presence of different watermarks. A similar Qur’an with the same variety of watermarked papers is now in the University of Leeds Library (inv.no.Ms.301, published in Brockett 1987). A further example is in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (inv.15.132, published in Weinstein 2015, p.159). For an extensive discussion on the trade of paper in Egypt and Sub-Saharan Africa as well as these types of Qur’an, see Brockett 1987. A similar Qur’an was sold in these rooms, 25 October 2017, lot 69.