North Africa or Spain
10th century AD
gold and silver on vellum stained royal blue
copied in Kufic script; 15 lines to the page
28.3 x 37.7cm
Text: surah al-Baqarah (II), verses 120–27 (folio 1); surah Al-‘Imran (III), verses 55–64 (folio 2).
The two folios come from the so-called ‘Blue Qur’an’. Their large size and gold lettering on dyed vellum testify to the high cost of the complete copy of this unique manuscript of the Qur’an. Whereas vellum dyed orange or yellow by saffron [see KFQ 93] is fairly common in early Qur’ans, the copy from which these folios come is the only one known to have been dyed indigo.
There are some diacritical marks in gold, but no vocalization. The verses are separated by circular devices. A gold Kufic letter ha’ marks the passage of five verses, while a large marginal device, in silver, marks the passage of ten verses.
F. Déroche, The Abbasid Tradition, Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, vol. I, London 1992, cat.42, pp.92–5. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.5, p.33.