Folio from a Qur'an Manuscript

Object Name:
Folio from a non-illustrated manuscript
ca. 1250–1300
North Africa
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on parchment
Page: H. 10 1/4 in. (8 9/16 cm) W. 8 9/16 in. (21.7 cm) Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1937
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Qur'ans of the Maghreb or the Islamic west, including North Africa and Spain, diverged at an early date from the stream of developments further east. The preservation of a number of archaic calligraphic features derived from kufic and the use of parchment are typical of the region during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Despite these archaizing features, the use of gold ink, the exaggerated curves of the letters below the baseline, and colorful diacritic marks lend the composition a striking rhythmic quality.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Qur'an surah (chapter) IV: begins at the end of verse 71 and continues through the middle of verse 76.

    72. "[...] witness along with them."

    73. "And if grace from Allah come to you, he would certainly cry out, as if there had not been any friendship between you and him: Would that I had been with them, then I should have attained a mighty good fortune."

    74. "Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world's life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward."

    75. "And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."

    76. "Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the arrogant ones. [...]"

  • Provenance

    [ Dikran G. Kelekian, New York, until 1937; sold to MMA]

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History