Part Two of a 30-part Qur’an
London, United Kingdom
Khalili Family Trust – Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art
AD late 9th century
Manuscript; Qur’an; ink on vellum; kufic script
Ink, gold and opaque watercolour on vellum
99 folios; 20.6 x 28.2cm
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).
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.
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