AN ILLUMINATED QUR'AN JUZ' (XIV)
AN ILLUMINATED QUR'AN JUZ' (XIV)
AN ILLUMINATED QUR'AN JUZ' (XIV)
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AN ILLUMINATED QUR'AN JUZ' (XIV)
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No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium. A ROYAL AQQUYUNLU QUR'AN JUZ
AN ILLUMINATED QUR'AN JUZ' (XIV)

COPIED BY ZAYN AL-'ABIDIN BIN MUHAMMAD AL-KATIB, AQQUYUNLU IRAN, DATED AH 902/1497-98 AD

Details
AN ILLUMINATED QUR'AN JUZ' (XIV)
COPIED BY ZAYN AL-'ABIDIN BIN MUHAMMAD AL-KATIB, AQQUYUNLU IRAN, DATED AH 902/1497-98 AD
Arabic manuscript on paper, Qur'an XV, sura al-hijr - Qur'an XVI, sura al-nahl, 35ff., plus two flyleaves, each folio with 7ll., the first, fourth and seventh lines in gold muhaqqaq, the remaining lines in black naskh, within gold and blue rules, gold and polychrome roundel verse markers, a sura heading in gold muhaqqaq in a panel illuminated with gold floral vine, gold and blue marginal medallions marking khams and 'ashr, the opening bifolio illuminated in gold and polychrome framing 3ll. of text including a sura heading in blue in a cloud reserved against a pink hatched ground, colophon signed and dated in clouds surrounded by gold floral vine, flyleaves with later owners' notes, in 19th century Kashmiri binding with scrolling chainwork, areas of water staining to margins, overall good condition
Text panel 7 x 4 ¾in. (18 x 12.1cm.); folio 11 1/8 x 7 3/8in. (28.2 x 18.8cm.)
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Lot Essay

This Qur’an juz is in the hand of the master scribe, Zayn al-‘Abidin bin Muhammad al-Katib al-Shirazi. It bears close resemblance to another Qur’an, also copied in thirty separately bound juz by the same scribe that was written for the Aqquyunlu ruler Ya’qub Beg (r.1478-90) in AH 888/1483-4 AD. It was copied in the capital Tabriz where a distinguished tradition of literary and cultural patronage was established. Juz from that Qur’an are heavily published and have appeared at auction, including a recent example sold in these Rooms 28 October 2020, lot 27, and another at Sotheby’s, 23 October 2019, lots 10 (which had a partly legible dedication to the Aqquyunlu ruler) and 121.
Stylistically our Qur’an juz is extremely close to those from the Ya’qub Beg Qur’an but both the folios and the text panels of ours are slightly smaller in size indicating that it was part of another similar commission by the same scribe. As in the Ya’qub Beg Qur’an, here Zayn al-‘Abidin juxtaposes large and small scripts, a practice which was occasionally used in the twelfth century and became much more common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, especially in Central Asia. Zayn al-‘Abidin has been referred to as the master of this technique, and copied both this manuscript and the Ya’qub Beg example with large lines of elegant muhaqqaq and thuluth sandwiching smaller panels of naskh. Blair argues that such a format was not to all tastes and this mixture of scripts was not popular in Egypt or Syria, where a change in script indicated a change in text (Sheila Blair, Islamic Calligraphy, 2008, pp.268-70). This format seems to have been especially appealing in Iran and adjacent lands at this time as part of the taste for calligraphic specimens, which often juxtaposed different scripts written at different angles in different colours. A remarkable example of this is in the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait (inv.no.LNS 84 MS).
Another Qur’an completed as a single-volume by Zayn al-‘Abidin is in the Astan Quds Razavi Library, in Mashhad. That manuscript is dated AH 876/1471 AD, and was copied for the Royal Library of Abu’l-Fath Muzaffar al-Din Hasan Bahadur Khan, which must be Uzun Hasan (Sultan Ya’qub Beg’s father), and donated to the Shrine of Imam Reza by Jahangir (Sahra-Gard, 1393). He was also a teacher of calligraphy - a copy of the Mathnavi of Rumi dated AH 869/1464-65 AD signed Ahmad al-Katib al-Shirazi, student of Zayn al-‘Abidin bin Muhammad al-Katib, sold in these Rooms, 21 April 2016, lot 80). The Qur’an juz offered here presents an important addition to the known corpus of this celebrated scribe’s work.
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