AN ILLUMINATED QUR’AN, COPIED BY SULEYMAN, STUDENT OF SELANIKI, TURKEY, OTTOMAN, CIRCA 1600
Arabic manuscript on paper, 427 leaves plus 4 fly-leaves, 13 lines to the page, written in naskh in black ink, ruled in black and gold, verses separated by gold and polychrome rosettes, surah headings in gold riqa outlined in black against a blue foliated ground within cartouches, hisb, nisb, ‘ashr and sajdahs with gold markers in the margins, f.1b and f.2a with an illuminated frontispiece, f.427b with a gold finispiece roundel, in brown gilt and stamped leather binding, with flap
text panel: 7.8 by 4.5cm.
leaf: 11.6 by 7.8cm.
The margins are clean, minor rubbing and various stains, restoration to the paper, affecting mainly the opening incipit page, 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."
Christie’s London, 16 October 1980, lot 12.
N. Safwat, A Collector’s Eye. Islamic calligraphy in Qur’ans and other manuscripts, London 2010, no.26, pp.120-1.
Thanks to the colophon, we know that the master of the present scribe Suleyman was from Thessaloniki (Selaniki). Three calligraphers are known to have been from Thessaloniki: Mahmud, his son Ahmed and Mustafa ibn Nusuh (Safwat 2010, p.120), although the current scribe doesn’t clarify who his teacher was. The opening illumination is typical of the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century. A Qur’an with a similar frontispiece, dated 977 AH/1569 AD, is published in Derman 2010, pp.84-85.