An illuminated Qur'an, India, Mughal, second half 17th century
What is guaranteed?
Arabic manuscript on paper, 347 leaves, plus 4 fly-leaves, with 12 lines of naskh in black ink in clouds reserved against a gold ground, ruled in gold, blue and black, verses separated by gold roundels, surah headings in white thuluth on gold floral illuminated panels, marginal markers in red, f.1b and f.2a with a double-page illuminated frontispiece, f.2b with illuminated headpiece surmounting text, f.191a with illuminated border, final folio with colophon with name of Yaqut al-Musta'simi, in gilt-stamped leather binding, brown leather doublures with filigree work in centre and corner spandrels
21.1 by 14.2cm.
In good condition overall. The folios generally clean with very minor areas of water staining and discolouration and some marginal restoration. The illuminated frontispiece with a small area of cracking where the ink in the border has naturally corroded. The colophon rubbed. Light creases to the folios, consistent with age and use. The binding stable with some minor surface wear, in modern slip case, 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."
The Mughal appreciation for the arts of Persia has been documented by the presence of Persian scribes in the Mughal court, and by the Persian volumes collected by Mughal emperors (Soucek 1987, p.166). By the seventeenth century, the style of most Indian Qur’ans was derived from Timurid and Safavid sources of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (Bayani, Contadini and Stanley 1999, p.200).
The headpiece on f.2b within this Qur’an is reminiscent of the illumination of Herat with a stronger use of black. The frontispiece, however, follows the Safavid Shiraz style of the mid-sixteenth century, and a Safavid Qur’an in the Khalili Collection that was re-illuminated in the Mughal court under Shah Jahan (r.1628-58) shows a similarly ambitious palette with lilac and orange highlights. The illuminated carpet page of this Qur’an is closely comparable both in terms of layout and quality as the frontispiece of a Mughal Qur’an sold in these rooms, 23 October 2019, lot 136.