Qurʼanic Verses


This calligraphic fragment includes some of the terminal verses (43–53) of the 30th chapter of the Qurʼan entitled Surat al-Rum (The Romans). This chapter deals with world power, as symbolized by the Persian and Roman empires, and the Day of Judgment. The surah advises the reader to turn to the right religion before that day. The verso of this calligraphic fragment includes the last seven verses of the Surat al-Rum, as well as the first four verses of the subsequent chapter, Surat Luqman, which advises righteousness and wisdom. The Kufi script executed in brown ink on this parchment fragment recalls Kufi "New Style I," typical of Qurʼans produced in Iraq and Persia during the 11th and 12th centuries, although by this time Qurʼans tend to be written on paper rather than vellum or parchment. This kind of script is angular, and letters that should be connected by ligatures are oftentimes detached, thus making the text difficult to decipher. Although substantially faded today, vocalization marks executed as red dots are visible both above and below the main text lines. Verse markers are rather indistinguishable, as they are very small and also executed in brown ink. They consist of three diagonal lines diminishing in size in order to create a triangular formation. The tenth verse marker separating verse 50 from 51, located on the fourth line from the bottom on this folio, stands out as it consists of a simple virgule inscribed in a plain circle. Unfortunately, this fragment has suffered through the wear of usage—as witnessed by the creases running horizontally and vertically across the folio—and water damage, which has smeared the letters both at the top and bottom of this fragment.

Last updated: April 6, 2015