Single folio from a Qur’an
London, United Kingdom
Khalili Family Trust – Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art
AD early 8th century
Manuscript; Qur’an page; ink on vellum; Hijazi script
Brown ink on vellum; Hijazi script; the recto is the hair side
32.5 x 20.5cm (max)
Probably the Hijaz
The text on this folio consists of sura Hud (XI), mid-verse 14–24. There are 23–25 lines to the page. Vocalization is not used but occasional diacritical strokes identify the letters. Six oval dots punctuate the verses and a red alif surrounded by dots marks every 5th verse. The red circles marking the passage of 10 verses may be a later addition.
The attribution of the folio to the Hijaz was made following what the 10th-century Baghdadi bibliographer al-Nadim stated in the Fihrist, his account on the earliest forms of Arabic scripts. He affirmed that letters with long ascenders and a slant originated in Mecca and Medina. Some elements, like inconsistencies of spelling, marked variations in letter-forms and even in the number of lines from page to page, support the theory that Arabic calligraphy at this early stage was far from standardized.
Other fragments from the same Qur’an are in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (ms Arabe 328a) and Biblioteca Vaticana, Rome (ms.arabe 1605/1).
Déroche, F., The Abbasid Tradition, London: The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume 1, 1992: cat.1, pp.30, 32.
Rogers, J.M., The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London: Thames & Hudson, 2010: no.1, pp.30–31.
Compiled by Roberta Marin "Single folio from a 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;2;en&id=manuscripts
Prepared by: Compiled by Roberta Marin
MWNF Working Number: UK1 02