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    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 12

    A LARGE FORMAT KUFIC QUR'AN SECTION

    NEAR EAST OR NORTH AFRICA, 9TH/10TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A LARGE FORMAT KUFIC QUR'AN SECTION
    NEAR EAST OR NORTH AFRICA, 9TH/10TH CENTURY
    Qur'an XX, Sura al-Taha, parts of vv 39-40, 59-63, 81-86, 109-113 and 127-130; Qur'an XXII, Sura al-Hajj, parts of 5-11, 78; Qur'an XXIII, Sura al-Mu'minum, parts of 27 and 28, manuscript on vellum, 10ff. plus 2 fly-leaves, each folio with 7ll. of large kufic script, diacritics in red and green, a few roundel or rosette gold and polychrome verse markers and one drop-shaped marginal medallion, in Qajar brown morocco with stamped cusped medallion and the name of the owner's library, areas of staining, pages with small areas of reinking, some damages around the edges
    10¾ x 14¾in. (27.5 x 37.5cm.)


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    Another folio from this Qur'an sold in these Rooms, 11 October 1988, lot 40 and is now in the Khalili Collection (François Déroche, The Abbasid Tradition, London, 1992, no.69, p.126). A number of other bifolios and sections of this Qur'an sold in these Rooms, 15 October 2002, lots 44 to 52. The scribe does not appear to have prepared the parchment by marking the lines, instead copying it free-hand, resulting in occasional uneven lines. However it is nevertheless a manuscript of great power and simple beauty. The letter forms to an extent recall those of what Déroche terms the D group, which is the most varied group of the early Abbasid scripts. In nature the line is thick and the vertical upstrokes are always perpendicular to the base line.

    The sculptural nature of the kufic in this Qur'an section bears resemblance to that of one in the Khalili Collection attributed to North Africa or Egypt, late 9th century (published in J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection, Abu Dhabi, 2008, no. 10, p.36). This attribution may be questioned in that the green and yellow roundel on the right hand folio illustrated above, brings to mind Tang Splashed bowls of 10th century Nishapur. This might support an Iranian or Near Eastern attribution rather than a North African.

    Déroche notes that on the basis of the script, the Khalili example and thus also the present section may have been part of the famous MS.322 in the Institute of Oriental Studies in Leningrad (S. al-Munajjid, Al-kitab al-'arabi al-makhtut ila'l-qarn al-ashir al-hijri, Cairo, 1960, pl.I, see Déroche, op. cit., p.126).

    Further details on the verses in this Qur'an section available on request.

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