Document Confirming the Manumission of a Slave (Mukataba)

Location: Khurasan

Materials: ink on light-coloured parchment; bulla of khaki-coloured clay; a strip of parchment containing a draft of the first two lines has been placed between the document and the bulla

Dimensions: 34.9 x 11.8cm

Accession Number: DOC 47 [AR 21]

Other Notes:

Arabic document.

The document relates to the contractual emancipation (mukatabah) of a slave named Qiya the weaver by his master, Buyah ibn Muhammad. It certifies that Qiya has made the final payment of 116 dirhams and has now fulfilled the terms of his contract and has been released from obligation. Twenty names appear in the list of witnesses, all but one of whom – Mukhallad Mawla – left blank seal impressions or thumbnail marks on the bulla.

Contractual emancipation, or mukatabah, has its basis in the Qur’an, surah al-Nur (XXIV), verse 33.


G. Khan, Arabic Documents from Early Islamic Khurasan, Studies in the Khalili Collection, volume V, London 2007, pp.61–4, and no.32, pp.162–5.