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QUR 1081, fols 1b–2a
QUR 1081, fols 1b–2a

A Magnificently Illuminated Single-volume Qur’an

QUR 1081

North Africa

dated Friday hilal Shawwal 727 (20 August 1327)

QUR 1081, fols 1b–2a
QUR 1081, fols 2b–3a
QUR 1081, fols 3b–4a
QUR 1081, fols 4b–5a
QUR 1081, fols 92b–93a
QUR 1081, fols 155b–156a
QUR 1081, fols 186b–187a, with the colophon (fol 187a, left)
QUR 1081, fols 189b–190a

A Magnificently Illuminated Single-volume Qur’an

QUR 1081

North Africa

dated Friday hilal Shawwal 727 (20 August 1327)

ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper; stamped and gold-tooled red leather binding with flap of later date

text copied in maghribi script; incidentals in Kufic; 23 lines to the page

190 folios; 23.5 x 20cm

This magnificent Qur’an manuscript is as remarkable for the amount of illumination as it is for its quality and extensive variety. The manuscript opens and closes with three fully illuminated spreads, and single or double illuminated pages mark the beginning of each quarter of the text. Surah headings are generally written in a single line in gold Kufic, with an illuminated hasp that extends into the margin, the exception being those that mark the beginning of a quarter of the Qur’anic text, which are in decorative panels. Other illuminated marginal devices – such as those marking the passage of a group of verses, Qur’anic divisions or sajdahs, for example – are also of a striking complexity.

The name of the calligrapher, Yusuf ibn Radwan al-Shatibi, occurs at the end of a prayer at the beginning of the manuscript (folios 2b–3a), where he also lists the sources he used while copying the manuscript. The text on these two folios is written in gold Kufic outlined in black. The colophon, which gives the date of completion as hilal Shawwal (that is, the beginning of the month of Shawwal) 727, is incorporated within the decorative frame of the final page of text (folio 187a).