Qur'an Carpet Page; al-Fatihah


This folio contains an opening carpet page of a Qur'an. It is the second of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together with another folio, this folio constitutes the double-page illuminated frontispiece of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an. The folio contains the continuation of verses 76–80 of the 56th surah (chapter), al-Waqi'ah (The inevitable), contained in the top and bottom rectangular panels of the double-page illuminated frontispiece. The decorative patterns and palette of this carpet page are typical of 14th-century Mamluk Qur'ans made in Egypt. The verso of the folio contains the first chapter of the Qur'an, al-Fatihah (The opening). In the top and bottom blue rectangular registers, decorated with interlacing gold vine motifs, appears the title of the surah in now-oxidized white ink. The heading specifies that al-Fatihah was revealed in Medina and has seven verses, (29) words, and 120 letters. The number of words, which would have appeared in the lower right corner of the folio, is now missing. The interest in counting the total number ayahs (verses), words, and letters in various chapters and throughout the Qur'an not only provided an indexical apparatus for the Holy Book. It also may have served various practices concerned with letter mysticism or the esoteric sciences of letters. The script in the main text frame is naskh, a cursive style preferred in Qur'ans made in Cairo during the 14th–15th centuries.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

آيات قرآنية

Type of Item

Physical Description

23.4 x 28.2 centimeters


  • Script: Recto: thuluth; Verso: naskh

Last updated: October 17, 2011