Folio from the "Blue Qur'an"

Object Name: Folio from a non-illustrated manuscript

Date: second half 9th–mid-10th century

Geography: Tunisia, probably Qairawan

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Gold and silver on indigo-dyed parchment

Dimensions: 11 15/16 x 15 13/16 in. (30.4 x 40.2 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2004

Accession Number: 2004.88


This folio comes from the Blue Qur'an, so named for the rich hue of its indigo-dyed surface. The dyeing of parchment for use in luxurious manuscripts originated in Byzantine tradition and continued into the early Islamic period. The gold and silver ink of the kufic text and circular verse markers add to the opulence of this folio. While many scholars believe this Qur'an to have originated in Qairawan, Tunisia, details in its verse markers have led others to argue that it may have actually been produced in Cordoba during the Umayyad period of Spain, sometime from the ninth to the mid-tenth century. Nevertheless, a description of a manuscript with the same specifications as this one appeared in an inventory of the Mosque of Qairawan in 693 A.H. / 1293 A.D., indicating that it was part of the mosque’s endowment by this time.