Single-volume Qur’an

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Materials: ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper; contemporary leather binding with flap

Dimensions: 640 folios; 22.6 x 15cm

Accession Number: QUR 34

Other Notes:

Early Ottoman illumination is heavily influenced by that of 14th-century Shiraz, but here the colour scheme (especially the bright red), the elaborately lobed panels in which ornamental details are set and the extensive use of arabesques are characteristic of the style developed for the splendidly illuminated books in the personal library of Mehmed II (d 1481). According to the commissioning note on folio 639b, the Qur’an was copied for Mercan Agha, who was chief of the White Eunuchs at the court of Mehmed II. He was a generous benefactor of pious institutions in Istanbul and European Thrace.


main text copied in naskh script, incidentals in thulth; 11 lines to the page


D. James, After Timur. Qur’ans of the 15th and 16th Centuries, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume III, London 1992, cat.21, pp.88–93.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.175, p.151.