Folio from a Qur’an

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Qur’an; recto: Sura al-Sajdah (the Prostration) 32:1-9 and part of 10, one column, 10 lines of text; verso: sura 32: 10-20 and a few phrases of 21, one column, 11 lines of text; Arabic in gold naskhi script outlined in black; heading in gold floriated kufic script on a blue ground; illuminated verse markers; marginal medallions; vocalized in gold and blue; one of a group of 2 folios.

Maker(s)
Calligrapher: Shadhi b. Muhammad ibn Ayyub
Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, Reign of Nasir al-Din Muihammad, 1313
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 34.3 x 25.9 cm (13 1/2 x 10 3/16 in)
Geography
Egypt
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1938.15
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
Egypt, illumination, Islam, kufic script, Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), Qur'an, sura 32, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1938
Kirkor Minassian (1874-1944), New York. [1]

From 1938
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Kirkor Minassian, New York. [2]

Notes:

[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Kirkor Minassian 1874-1944

Description

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Qur'an; recto: Sura al-Sajdah (the Prostration) 32:1-9 and part of 10, one column, 10 lines of text; verso: sura 32: 10-20 and a few phrases of 21, one column, 11 lines of text; Arabic in gold naskhi script outlined in black; heading in gold floriated kufic script on a blue ground; illuminated verse markers; marginal medallions; vocalized in gold and blue; one of a group of 2 folios.

Label

By the fourteenth century, the main text of the Qur'an was written exclusively in one of several cursive scripts, while the angular, or kufic, style was reserved primarily for the chapter headings.  Among the most popular Qur'anic scripts was naskh, which was admired particularly in fourteenth century Egypt for its legibility and fluidity.  This sumptuous, detached folio is from a copy of the Qur'an executed in gold naskh and outlined in black; the script tends to be densely packed with equal balance given to the vertical and horizontal strokes.  Prominent medallions indicate the verse endings, while the new chapter heading, written in elegant kufic, is set in a cartouche at the top.  According to its colophon, the manuscript was copied for Nasir al-Din Muhammad, the Mamluk ruler of Egypt and Syria (reigned 1294-95, 1299-1309, 1309-40).

Published References
  • Sheila Blair. Islamic Calligraphy. Edinburgh. pl. 8.5.
  • Fu Shen, Glenn D. Lowry, Ann Yonemura, Thomas Lawton. From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 43, pp. 104, 124-125.
  • Anna F. Broadbridge. Kingship and Ideology in the Islamic and Mongol Worlds. Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization Cambridge, England New York. p. 112, fig. 6.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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