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AN IMPRESSIVE QAJAR QUR'AN COPIED FOR AMIN AL-DAWLA 'ABDULLAH KHAN, SIGNED 'ABDULLAH AL-RANANI, IRAN, DATED AH 1236/1820-21 AD Arabic manuscript on paper, 356ff. plus 3 fly-leaves, each folio with 12ll. of strong black naskh alternated with red Persian interlinear translation in nasta'liq, text panels within gold, red and blue rules, catchwords, marginal hizb, sajda, nisf juz' and juz' markers in illuminated cartouches of various forms, copious marginal notes, sura headings in gold naskh on red or blue ground and within gold and polychrome illuminated panels, opening bifolio with elegant gold and polychrome illumination framing 6ll. of text in clouds reserved against gold ground, the following folio with similar text and marginal notes within gold panels, the preceding bifolio with large shamsa set on red ground and issuing two smaller blue pendants, all on a ground of elegant gold scrolling floral vine, final bifolio with similar shamsas followed by a folio with a prayer, in contemporaneous lacquer binding with polychrome floral motifs within minor floral borders, the doublures with gold floral arabesque on black ground Text panel 8½ x 5in. (22.1 x 12.3cm.); folio 12 1/8 x 7 7/8in. (31 x 20cm.)
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Lot Essay

The inscription on the doublures of the binding of this Qur'an is signed Mudhahhib-Bashi (chief illuminator) Aqa Sayyid Abu'l Qasim Isfahani, dated AH 1250/1834-35 AD, and dedicated to Vazir Muhammad Ja'far Khan. For details on Aqa Sayyid Abu'l Qasim Isfahani, see Willem Floor, 'Art (Naqqashi) and Artists (Naqqashan) in Qajar Persian', Muqarnas , vol.16, 1999, p.141. The scribe ‘Abdullah Ibn Ashoub al-Ranani was a royal scribe at the court of Fath ‘Ali Shah (r.1797-1834).

A long note at the beginning of the Qur'an states that it was given as a gift by Amin al-Dawla to Mirza Muhammad 'Ali Khan on the evening of Thursday 24 Dhu'l-Qa'da AH 1244/28 May 1829 AD. Amin al-Dawla ‘Abdallah Khan Sadr Isfahani (1779-1847) came from the wealthy landowning Sadr family. He was appointed as governor of Isfahan early in his career. In AH 1234/1818-19 AD he was summoned to Tehran to take over the position of chief accountant at the court of Fath ‘Ali Shah from his father. This Qur’an manuscript was commissioned by him shortly after he arrived in Tehran. He later rose to become Prime Minister, a post he retained until the death of Fath ‘Ali Shah in 1834. In the turmoil following the death of Fath ‘Ali Shah, Amin al-Dawla was engaged in a power struggle with rival factions at court. He was eventually exiled and died in Najaf in 1847.

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