Making use of a colored background to write upon was a means rarely used in the East or the West to emphasize the importance of a manuscript. This manuscript, with all its pages gilt, is unique. Simple black writing in the Naskhi style is used on the magnificent background. It is a masterpiece of calligraphy. In the 18th century, when the present cover was made, the book was severely cropped; only about half of each of the palm leaf-shaped “ansae” in the surah headings and the marginal verse numbers survived. The text is fully vocalized. The blue, red or white chapter headings on differently colored and decorated background are either in narrow and compressed Kufic or a generous cursive script. The points separating the verses are white drawings on roughly sketched-in orange or blue backgrounds. At the beginning, a fragment of a former double-page illumination has survived, which was usual for the openings of richly decorated Qurʼans of the 11th and 12th centuries made in the central Iraqi-Iranian area of the Islamic world, ruled at that time by the Seljuks.

Last updated: January 25, 2019