These two lines of calligraphy in elegant muhaqqaq script are from chapter 40 (Sura al-Mu'min, The Believer) of the Qur'an. The fragment on which they are written was once part of a Qur'an manuscript that is probably the largest ever produced. Originally, each page included seven lines of script copied on one side only. A double-page would fit perfectly into the gigantic stone Qur'an stand made for the congregational mosque of Bibi Khanum in Samarqand and commissioned by a grandson of Timur (Tamerlane, d. 1405). Its calligrapher was likely the renowned 'Umar Aqta'. Historical sources tell us that 'Umar tried to impress Timur by writing a Qur’an so small that it could fit under a signet ring. When the sultan was unmoved, 'Umar wrote a Qur'an so large that it had to be brought to Timur on a cart.
Inscription: Qur'anic inscription in muhaqqaq script 28:83-84
This piece is the lower part of 21.26.12
Private collection(until 1972; gifted to MMA)
Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965-1975 (1965-1975). p. 134, ill. (b/w).
Ettinghausen, Richard. "Islamic Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1975). ill. pp. 30-31 (b/w).
"Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York." In The Arts of Islam. Berlin, 1981. no. 66, pp. 170-171, ill. p. 171 (b/w).