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Qur'an Folio

(Q5: 44–45)

  • Accession Number:AKM256
  • Place:Iran
  • Dimensions:31 x 20.8 cm
  • Date:mid-12th century
  • Materials and Technique:Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper

By the time this magnificent folio was copied in eastern Iran, the use of paper in a vertical format and the full pointing and vocalization of the text were already established standards (except in Spain). Here, all pointing and diacritic marks are written in the same ink and hand as the letter forms, while the vocalization is rendered in red, most probably after the text was copied. However, it is the design and layout of the folio that are most magnificent. The generous spacing between the lines and the graceful verticality of the uprights of the letters create a rhythm for the full decoration of the background. An ornamental palmette-scroll (arabesque) outlined in blue surrounds the text and takes pride of place on the page, with a miniature tight scroll filling the space in between. The gilded braid framing the page and the marginal finials give it a sophisticated finished look. It would have been an elaborate undertaking by a wealthy patron to commission and complete this thirty-volume dispersed Qur’an. Scholars have estimated that this Qur’an would have had approximately 4,500 pages, some of which are in prominent museum collections.


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