© Khalili Family Trust © Khalili Family Trust © Khalili Family Trust

Name of Object:

Part Two of a 30-part Qur’an


London, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Khalili Family Trust – Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art


AD late 9th century

Type of object:

Manuscript; Qur’an; ink on vellum; kufic script

Museum Inventory Number:

QUR 372

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ink, gold and opaque watercolour on vellum


99 folios; 20.6 x 28.2cm

Period / Dynasty:



North Africa or Egypt


The text consists of sura al-Baqara (II), verses 142–252. The opening (folios 1b–2a) and closing spreads (folios 97b–98a) are fully illuminated. The different designs are possibly inspired by Late Antique mosaics, still fashionable in 8th-century Umayyad Syria and even longer in Byzantium.

The text block observes the proportions of the Golden Section, ½(1+√5), which was discovered by the Pythagoreans and follows the principle of the equiangular spiral and other basic geometrical figures. Islamic mathematicians and craftsmen were well acquainted with the principle, although there are few cases to demonstrate that it was regarded as an ideal of beauty in Islamic art. It has been used in other early Qur’ans, notably a fine manuscript (now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris) commissioned by Amajur, the governor of Damascus, for the Great Mosque of Tyre, Lebanon, in AH 262 (AD 875–6).

Selected bibliography:

Déroche, F., The Abbasid Tradition, London: The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume 1, 1992, cat.24, pp.72–5.
Rogers, J.M., The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London: Thames & Hudson, 2010: no.10, p.36.

Citation of this web page:

Compiled by Roberta Marin  "Part Two of a 30-part Qur’an " in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;uk;Mus21;14;en&id=manuscripts

Prepared by: Compiled by Roberta Marin

MWNF Working Number: UK1 14