The striking feature of this splendidly decorated late-Safavid Qurʼan of 1714 is its exceptional arrangement. The complete text is compressed onto only 33 leaves with 48 lines to a page in very small but clear naskh script. Each page contains a hizb (smaller section, half of a juz’), and each double page a juz’ (section) of the Qurʼan. The composition of the sumptuously illuminated opening double page is dominated by two vertical rectangles, which are divided into several decorated panels and borders. Gold-decorated cloud cartouches on the margins give this Qurʼan a Shi’ite character. The cartouches are written in Persian in fine shekaste script and contain reports from the life of Muhammad and Qurʼanic commentaries of the sixth Imam, Ja‘far al-Sadiq (died 765). The very well preserved lacquer binding deserves particular attention. The center is a diamond-shaped ornament around which delicately decorated borders are arranged. The exterior frame bears naturalistic blossom motifs, whereas the main panel is covered with stylized floral and tendril work.

Last updated: November 16, 2017