Arts of the Book: Manuscripts, Folios, Bindings
Two Lines From A Folio Of A Monumental Qur’an Manuscript
Timurid, circa 1400 CE
Materials and technique
Ink on paper
47.3 x 98.5 cm
Combining monumentality and dynamic rhythm, the two lines of this fragment demonstrate why muhaqqaq was the preferred script for large-scale Qur’ans in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The bold script, which cuts a sharp outline in dark brown ink across the buff paper, was previously thought to be by the hand of the Timurid Prince Baysunghur, a noted calligrapher and bibliophile. Recent studies suggest, however, that the manuscript was created under the patronage of his grandfather Timur and that it may have rested on an unusually large marble Qur’an stand commissioned for it by another grandson, Ulugh Beg, in the main chamber of Timur’s congregational mosque in Samarqand (Lentz and Lowry 1989, pp. 16, 329; Soudavar 1992, pp. 59-62). Pages from the manuscript were widely dispersed as early as the sixteenth century, and now reside in various places including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Shrine of Imam Reza Museum (Mashhad), Nasser D. Khalili (London) and Art and History Trust (USA) collections. It is noteworthy that the lower right corner of this fragment includes an inscription in a ta'liq script stylistically comparable to that of a sixteenthcentury chancery calligrapher. Although worn and not entirely legible, the wording of the inscription indicates that it was offered as a charitable donation or waqf, to a mosque, madrasa or other religious institution by a person of some importance, possibly Sultan Husayn Bayqara if the year refers to a regnal, not a calendar year.
© 2007 The Aga Khan Development Network. This is the only authorised Website of the Aga Khan Development Network.