Arts of the Book: Illustrated Texts, Miniatures
Illuminated Album Page With Sura Al-Fatiha
Iran or Bukhara
Safavid ( ?)
Materials and technique
Opaque watercolour, gold and ink on paper
32.2 x 21.4 cm
The Surat al-Fatiha is the opening chapter of the Qur’an. Often composed as a double-page frontispiece with lavish use of gold and lapis lazuli, the Surat al-Fatiha was among the most elaborately decorated pages in a Qur’an manuscript and provided a showcase for the calligrapher and illuminator to demonstrate their talents. These precious pages were often preserved apart or even created separately from the Qur’an manuscript and pasted onto album pages, as may be the case here. This page, written by the renowned sixteenth-century calligrapher Muhammad Murad, is in nasta'liq script, the favoured script of Persian calligraphers in the sixteenth century for writing poetry and prose, but an uncommon choice for copying Arabic verses from the Qur’an.
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