• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7751

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    6 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 248

    QUR'AN ON SANDALWOOD

    INDIA, 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    QUR'AN ON SANDALWOOD
    INDIA, 18TH CENTURY
    Arabic manuscript on very thin sheets of sandalwood, each folio with 25ll. of tiny black naskh, with gold and black interlinear divisions, sura headings in red on gold ground, within gold and polychrome rules, marginal markers in red naskh, illuminated opening folio laid down on the fly-leaf, numerous pages with splits, repairs, incomplete after sura al-muddaththir (LXXIV), in lacquer cover, back cover missing, in very delicate condition
    Text panel 4 5/8 x 2¼in. (11.6 x 5.7cm.); folio 6 x 3½in. (15.4 x 9cm.)


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    That this Qur'an is written on sandalwood is both very unusual and represents a great feat of craftsmanship - working with a wood that is cut so thin that it becomes extremely brittle. The tradition of using and playing with materials in atypical circumstances is one often experimented with by craftsmen in India. For other examples of the practice see an 18th century Mughal bed-roll completely woven in silver and copper thread (sold in these Rooms, 22 May 2008, lot 288). Other carpets are known to have been woven in extremely delicate sheets of ivory. An example of a religious text being similarly treated can be found in the ten silver gilt and enamelled plates with the names of God, dated AH 1212/1797-98 AD which were sold in these Rooms, 23 October 2007, lot 30.

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