Arts of the Islamic World and India

Arts of the Islamic World and India

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 112. A large illuminated Qur'an, India, Mughal, late 17th/early 18th century.

A large illuminated Qur'an, India, Mughal, late 17th/early 18th century

Auction Closed

April 24, 03:45 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot Details


Arabic manuscript on gold-sprinkled paper, 385 leaves, 11 lines to the page written in naskh in black ink, ruled in red, gold and blue, verses separated by gold roundels with red and blue dots, further text divisions marked by illuminated marginal devices, surah headings in white thuluth on gold and polychrome illuminated panels, opening bifolium with double page shamsa, following bifolium fully illuminated in gold and polychrome framing text, in green leather binding

31.6 by 20cm.

Ex-private collection, USA, circa 2000

A beautifully drawn double-page shamsa introduces the text of this impressive copy of the Qur’an, followed by a double page frontispiece with illumination that displays the dual influence of Mughal Indian and Safavid Persian illumination.

Gold dominates the overall scheme, a feature also seen in Qur’ans of the late Safavid period, but the illumination also comprises delicate tones of pistachio-green, and mauve in the decorative motifs. The lighter shade of cerulean-blue is softer than the deep shade favoured by the Safavids. The overall effect is an uplifting colour palette, typical of Mughal illumination (see, for example, two Qur’ans in the Khalili Collection, Bayani et. al., 1999, pp.174-5, 208-219, nos.57, 68-69). The arrangement of the shamsa, neatly framed within concentric circles within lobed spandrels, is also found within contemporaneous Mughal Qur’ans (ibid. no.61, p.170).

The main text is written on a finely gold-sprinkled paper that contrasts in tone with the lighter margins which also bear a gold foliate frame throughout the manuscript. The contrast in paper emphasises the even naskh script employed by the calligrapher.