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TWO KUFIC QUR'AN FOLIOS
TWO KUFIC QUR'AN FOLIOS

NEAR EAST OR NORTH AFRICA, 8TH/9TH CENTURY

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TWO KUFIC QUR'AN FOLIOS
NEAR EAST OR NORTH AFRICA, 8TH/9TH CENTURY
Qur’an II, sura al-baqara, middle of v.143 to middle of v.154 and Qur'an III, sura al-'imran, middle of v.45 to beginning of v.58, Arabic manuscript on vellum, each folio with 17ll. of neat sepia kufic, verse markers formed of clusters of six gold roundels, khams markers in the form of a gold ha, 'ashr markers in an illuminated medallion with a kufic abjad letters, reading marks in red
Each folio 8¼ x 11¼in. (21 x 28.2cm.)

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Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse
Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse

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Lot Essay

This Qur'an bifolio appears to come from a Qur'an, of which a section is in the Bibliothèque Royale in Rabat (inv.12610, Maroc. Les trésors du royaume, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 1999, no.139, p.101). There the Qur'an is attributed to the Caliph ‘Uthman bin Affan on the basis of a comparable example also attributed to him in the Topkapi (The 1400th Anniversary of the Qur'an, exhibition catalogue, Turkey, 2010, cat.16, pp.168-69). The Topkapi Qur'an was brought into the museum from the library of Sultan Mahmud I (r.1730-54) which was located in the Hagia Sophia in 1912. On the face of the manuscript's last page is the inscription "Caliph 'Uthman ibn Affan wrote in the 30th year", taken to mean that it was written by a scribe of the Caliph 'Uthman in the first half of the 1st century AH. Dr. Tayyar Altikulac revisited the Topkapi codex manuscript in 2006 and wrote that even if it had not belonged to 'Uthman it must have been copied from one that did (op.cit., p.17).

The scribe of this elegant Qur'an bifolio plays with the kufic, accentuating the horizontal letters in order to conform to the format of his text block. Red dots are used as vowel markers, a use that was abandoned after the 11th century, when dashes took over the role, and dots became diacritical marks.

Two folios from this same Qur’an were sold in these Rooms, 7 April 2011, lots 1 and 2.

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