Fragment of a Qur’an folio, Sura 3:85-86

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Qur’an; Sura al-‘Imran (Family of Imran) 3: part of verse 85, 86, beginning word ” ‘al-islam”; reverse: blank; Arabic in black and gold muhaqqaq script; a gold roundel verse marker; vocalized in black; one column; 2 lines of text.

Historical period(s)
Timurid period, Late 14th century
Medium
Ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 17.8 x 36.1 cm (7 x 14 3/16 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1945.18
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
Iran, Islam, muhaqqaq script, Qur'an, sura 3, Timurid period (1378 - 1506), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1945
Mrs. Kirkor Minassian, New York. [1]

From 1945
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Mrs. Kirkor Minassian, New York. [2]

Notes:

[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Mrs. Kirkor Minassian

Description

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Qur'an; Sura al-'Imran (Family of Imran) 3: part of verse 85, 86, beginning word " 'al-islam"; reverse: blank; Arabic in black and gold muhaqqaq script; a gold roundel verse marker; vocalized in black; one column; 2 lines of text.

Label

With the rapid spread of Islam, the need for more legible and easily transcribable scripts became paramount.  In response, calligraphers in the eleventh century began to refine a series of cursive writing styles that were used for both religious and secular texts.

This fragment from the fifteenth century is written in muhaqqaq, one of the most popular cursive scripts reserved for the Qur'an.  Particularly favored for its boldness, the script is characterized by slender verticals and sweeping sublinear strokes.  In this folio, the word Allah (God) stands out in gold, while the medallion on the right marks the end of the verse.  The passage stresses the importance of submission to God.

Published References
  • Stewart Desmond. Early Islam. Great Ages of Man New York. p. 109.
  • Fu Shen, Glenn D. Lowry, Ann Yonemura, Thomas Lawton. From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 41, pp. 120-121.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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