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Folio from a Qur'an; right side of bifolio

800s

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

Because of its connection with the Qur'an, calligraphy was elevated above all other art forms in the Islamic world. From an awkward and nearly illegible form of writing, Arabic script was transformed during the 600s and 700s to make it worthy of recording the Divine word. By the 800s, Muslim scribes were producing copies of the Qur'an that were true calligraphic masterpieces. This Qur'an, written entirely in gold, exemplifies the angular form of writing known as Kufic at its majestic best. The text on the right page is the opening of the Chapter of the Star (53:1–21), which begins: “By the star when it plunges, your comrade is not astray, neither errs, nor speaks he out of caprice. This is naught but a revelation revealed, taught him by one terrible in power, very strong. . . . ”

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Details

  • Title: Folio from a Qur'an; right side of bifolio
  • Date Created: 800s
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 26.7 x 36.3 cm (10 1/2 x 14 5/16 in.); Folio: 36.3 cm (14 5/16 in.); Text area: 22.8 x 30 cm (9 x 11 13/16 in.)
  • Provenance: (Oliver Hoare Limited, London, UK, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art), The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Manuscript
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1993.39.1
  • Medium: gold, ink and colors on parchment
  • Inscriptions: Sura al-Tur (52: part 37-49). Script: Kufic (fifteen lines to a page)
  • Department: Islamic Art
  • Culture: North Africa, Aghlabid or Abbasid
  • Credit Line: The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund
  • Collection: Islamic Art
  • Accession Number: 1993.39.1

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