Arts of the Book: Manuscripts, Folios, Bindings
Qur’an Folio In Gold Kufic Script
9th-10th century CE
Materials and technique
Ink and gold on parchment
17.9 x 26 cm
As with the pages of the celebrated “Blue Qur’an”, the execution of this Qur’an folio in gold kufic script on vellum involved the lengthy and expensive process called chrysography (see Fraser and Kwiatkowski 2005, p. 30). The letters were written in 'liquid glue', filled in with a careful application of ground gold suspended in a solution, and finally outlined with pale brown ink using a thin-nibbed stylus. The vocalisations used to read and recite the text have been applied in the form of dots painted in red, blue and green. An eight-petalled rosette framing the letter kaf signals the end of a group of ten verses in the abjad system, found also in other kufic Qur’ans. Each letter of the Arabic alphabet is assigned a numerical value to signal the completion of a particular verse in a chapter - in this case, kaf, which equals 20, marks the end of the twentieth verse of Sura Qaf. Two other leaves from this Qur’an manuscript are housed in the National Library, Tunis.
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