Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Qur'an Manuscript with Lacquer Binding

Object Name:
Non-illustrated manuscript
early 19th century
Attributed to Iran
Manuscript: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Binding: pasteboard; painted and lacquered
3 15/16 x 2 1/2 in. (10 x 6.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Shamina Talyarkhan, 2006
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
Notes in the front of this tiny Qur'an, copied in 'ghubar' script, state that it was originally given to the Qajar emperor Fath 'Ali Shah (reigned 1798–1834) so that he could carry it in his pocket at all times. In 1809 it was presented to Fath 'Ali Shah's grandson, Prince Tahmasp Mirza, on the occasion of his birth. The note states that the Qur'an was copied by the late 'Abd Muhammad 'Ali, but which of the many scribes of this name he was is unclear. The Qur'an is lavishly illuminated and bound into a lacquer binding signed by 'Ali Ashraf, a mid–18th–century artist, indicating that the binding must have been reused in the late 18th or early 19th century.
Inscription: Inscription one: "This Holy Qur'an is copied by the great Ustad Aqa Ghulam 'Ali and was given as a gift by his paternal uncle on the occasion of the birth of the one and only beloved Prince Tahmasp Mirza, Mu'ayyad al-Dawla (1809–77, Tahmasp Mirza was the son Fath 'Ali Shah's eldest son, Muhammad 'Ali Mirza, known as Dawlatshah). The late 'Abd Muhammad 'Ali [originally] copied this Qur'an in ghubar (tiny) for the King (Fath 'Ali Shah, r. 1798–1834), so that he could carry it in his pocket at all times ---- Ibrahim Qajar" (could be Ibrahim Khan, Zahir al-Dawla, nephew of Agha Muhammad Khan and later step-son and son-in-law of Fath 'Ali Shah who died in 1240/1824 and also served as governor of Kirman.

Inscription two: God is Great--- First sentence contains Arabic prayers …. On the date of birth of the beloved son Muhammad Ja'far Khan______ on Thursday, twelfth of Holy month of Safar 1274/1 October 1857

Inscription three: God is Great-- By coincidence, tonight, Tuesday, 11th of the Holy month of Ramadan, I decided to transfer gifts of Qur'ans and other objects that I had [in my possession] to my dear and beloved children. One of them, Ja'far Khan went and brought this very Qur'an that corresponds to his date of birth. I gave him the Qur'an with the blessing of those present and respect for this Holy Qur'an. I hope it brings him good fortune and longevity-------
Consequently, on this hour-
…Monday, 11 Ramadan 1284/ 6 January 1867
King Fath 'Ali Shah (Iranian, 2nd Qajar ruler (r. 1797–1834)), Iran (early 19th century); Prince Tahmasp Mirza, Iran (from 1809); Ja'far Khan, Iran (from 1867); Shamina Talyarkhan, New York (until 2006; gifted to MMA)
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