Iran, probably Shiraz
ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper; 16th-century Safavid gilt leather binding with paper onlay
main text copied in thulth, naskh and Kufic scripts, incidentals in Kufic script; 6 lines to the page
75 folios; 21.9 x 14.3cm
This beautifully written and illuminated volume contains surah al-Fatihah (I), surah al-An‘am (VI), surah al-Kahf (XVIII), surah Saba’ (XXIV) and surah al-Mala’ikah (XXXV). The opening spread is richly illuminated, with the first two lines of surah al-Fatihah on a ground of feathery spiral scrolls, with inscription panels above and below, bordered with friezes of plaited motifs and split palmettes. The single marginal hasps are in the form of triangles with concave sides.
Four of the five surahs are written in a combination of six lines of naskh in a text panel and a line of thulth above and below, while the fifth is in Kufic. The surah headings are also in Kufic in illuminated panels.
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.31, pp.136–9. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.164, p.142.