This manuscript, consisting of 60 paper leaves, is the 20th juz’ (section) of one of the greatest Qurʼanic manuscripts known to exist. Originally it consisted of 30 volumes. Other sections of single folios are to be found in various libraries, museums, and collections. This manuscript belongs to a small group of manuscripts that can be assigned (from the similarity of the writing to the decoration of the so-called Samanid ceramics, as well as from the names of writers) to eastern Iran and can be attributed from dated copies to the 11th or 12th centuries. The text is written on five lines to a page. The writing is a special eastern form of Kufic of distinct metallic precision. The monumental impression conveyed by the writing is luxuriously enriched by colorful additions. Golden circular dots serve as diacritical marks; vocalization is in red; further marks for reading and lecturing are in green and blue. In the margin we find points for further division, and into the margin project the headings for the surahs (chapters, leaves 18 recto and 43 verso) with palm leaf-shaped ura or ansae (handles). At the opening is a page of pure decoration, with a system of daringly stylized arabesque leaves and secondary symmetrical filling of the background. The double pages at the beginning and at the end assume an almost pictorial character, due to the firm framework of the panel of writing and the unbroken ornamentation of its background.

Date Created

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Title in Original Language


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Physical Description

60 folios, paper : 24.5 x 18.5 centimeters


  • BSB shelfmark: Cod.arab. 2603
  • This description of the work was written by Hans-Caspar Graf von Bothmer.

Last updated: September 29, 2017