© The Metropolitan Museum of Art © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Name of Object:

Folio from the 'Tashkent Qur'an'


New York, United States of America

Holding Museum:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Hegira 2nd–early 3rd century / AD late 8th–early 9th century

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ink on parchment


Page: H: 55cm, W: 70cm

Period / Dynasty:



Syria, Yemen, or North Africa


This folio, monumental in size, comes from one of the oldest surviving Qur’an manuscripts in existence. Its kufic script displays some similarities with the earlier ma’il (leaning) script, including the form of the vowel ya’ in the terminal position whose tail wraps around to underline the preceding letters. Based on the form of the script and the illuminations that survive on other pages from this Qur’an, the manuscript has been attributed to Cairo, Egypt; Damascus, Syria; or San‘a’, Yemen. About one third of the original manuscript is housed in the Hast-Imam Library in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

How Object was obtained:

Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2004

Vendor: Sam Fogg, London

Former owner: Private collection, Norway

Former owner [dealer]: [Sam Fogg, London, until 2004; sold to MMA]

Selected bibliography:

Coran coufique de Samarcand, écrit d’après la tradition de la propre main du troisième calife Osman (644–656) qui se trouve dans la Bibliothèque Impériale Publique de St. Petersbourg, St. Petersberg, 1905.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Canby, Sheila R., Haidar, Navina and Soucek, Priscilla P. (eds), Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011: 25–26, no. 1, ill. 25 (colour).
Fendall, Ramsey, Islamic Calligraphy, London: Fogg, 2003: 12.
George, Alain, The Rise of Islamic Calligraphy, London: Saqi, 2010: 87–88.
Piotrovsky, Mikhail, Earthly Beauty, Heavenly Art: Art of Islam, Amsterdam: Lund Humphries Publishers, 2001: 101–4.
Raby, Julian (ed), The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. The Abbasid Tradition: Qur'ans of the Eighth to the Tenth Centuries A.D., London: Nour Foundation, 1992: 27–33.

Additional Copyright Information:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2004

Citation of this web page:

 "Folio from the 'Tashkent 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;us;Mus23;47;en&id=manuscripts

MWNF Working Number: US3 47

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