Panel of Illumination, Qurʼanic Verses


This panel of illumination marks the beginning of the 20th juz' (part) of the Qurʼan at verse 56 of the 27th chapter entitled Surat al-Naml (The ants). Verses 56−60 of the surah appear on this folio's verso and also on another fragment from the same Qurʼan in the collections of the Library of Congress. On that fragment, the text continues with verses 57−60. Together, these two folios form the beginning of the 20th juz' (part) of the Qurʼan, demarcated by a panel of illumination on the recto of this folio. Surat al-Naml describes the wonders of the spiritual world. The stories of a number of prophets, such as Moses, Solomon, Salih, and Lut (Lot), are offered in order to distinguish true from false worship and highlight the miracles of God's grace and revelation. In the story of Lot, those who are lustful, including Lot's wife, will suffer God's punishment, as here in 27:57: “But We saved him (Lot) and his family, / Except his wife: her We destined to be among those who lagged behind.” This panel of illumination follows a standard type found in horizontal Qurʼans made of parchment during the ninth century. The panel is divided into three registers along the horizontal. The outer register includes interlacing vines decorated with dots, the middle register consists of square and rectangular panels striated with gold lines, and the innermost panel is speckled with a field of diagonal lines composed of small gold and blue dots. A gold decorative finial projecting into the left margin serves as a visual clue for the beginning of the juz'.

Last updated: April 6, 2015