Iran, perhaps Azerbaijan
circa 1175–1225 AD
ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper; leather binding of a later date
main text in muhaqqaq script, incidentals in Kufic and naskh; 3 lines to the page
92 folios; 39.2 x 32.4cm
The text is written in a stately form of muhaqqaq, a script which, from the rise of the rounded scripts, was particularly favoured for fine Qur’ans. The vocalisation in gold is outlined in black.
Both the script and the illumination of this imposing manuscript are related to a seven-part copy of the Qur’an dedicated to Abu’l-Qasim Harun ibn ‘Ali ibn Zafar, the vizier of Özbeg, the last atabak of Azerbaijan (r 1210–1225).
D. James, The Master Scribes. Qur’ans of the 10th to 14th Centuries AD, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume II, London 1992, cat.5, pp.34–9. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.59, p.71.