Folio from a Qur’an, Sura 5:52-54

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Qur’an; recto: Sura al-Ma’ida (the Table Spread) 5: part of verse 52, 53, recto begins with “ya’tia bi’l fathi”; verso: sura 5:53 and part of 54, verso begins with “bi Allahi”; Arabic in black “eastern kufic (New Style)” script; illuminated inscribed verse markers; vocalized in red, tashdid and sukun in blue, letters for recitation in brown; one column; 4 lines of text.
Border: The text area is filled with palmette scrolls and set within an illuminated frame that terminates at the top and bottom in a semi-medallion.

Historical period(s)
11th-12th century
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 32.3 x 21.4 cm (12 11/16 x 8 7/16 in)
Geography
Afghanistan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1939.56
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
Afghanistan, eastern kufic script, Iran, Islam, Qur'an, sura 5, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Qur'an; recto: Sura al-Ma'ida (the Table Spread) 5: part of verse 52, 53, recto begins with "ya'tia bi'l fathi"; verso: sura 5:53 and part of 54, verso begins with "bi Allahi"; Arabic in black "eastern kufic (New Style)" script; illuminated inscribed verse markers; vocalized in red, tashdid and sukun in blue, letters for recitation in brown; one column; 4 lines of text.
Border: The text area is filled with palmette scrolls and set within an illuminated frame that terminates at the top and bottom in a semi-medallion.

Label

By the eleventh century, a number of distinct kufic scripts had developed. In Iran, the letters became more refined, characterized by elongated vertical strokes with left-facing flourishes. In this folio, from a now-dispersed copy of the Qur'an, the vegetal scroll design, usually reserved for discrete areas of illumination, serves as a backdrop to the elegantly proportioned words. This is the only known Qur'an decorated in this unusual and elaborate manner.

Published References
  • Richard Ettinghausen, Ernst Kuhnel. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present. 6 vols., London and New York, 1938 - 1939. vol. 3: pp. 1951-1952, vol. 5: pls. 931B, 932A.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 3, pp. 1-2.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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