Arabic calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, was elevated above all other art forms in the Islamic world because Allah, or God, revealed the divine word of Islam to the Prophet Muhammad (570–632) in the Arabic language. This Qur'an page is considered one of the most splendid examples of Arabic calligraphy. Based on the proportions of Arabic letters, majestic eastern Kufic script features attenuated letters with long upstrokes and low strokes swaying to the left. Contours echoing the letters separate the sacred text from the lively arabesque background. This vertical layout on paper replaces the earlier horizontal format on parchment.

Download this artwork (provided by The Cleveland Museum of Art).
Learn more about this artwork.


  • Title: Leaf from a Qur'an
  • Date Created: 1100s
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 32 x 21.3 cm (12 5/8 x 8 3/8 in.)
  • Provenance: (Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, NY, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art), The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Manuscript
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1939.507
  • Medium: opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
  • Inscriptions: Sura al-Nisa 4: 157-160. Script: Eastern Kufi (four lines to a page)
  • Fun Fact: Calligraphers and poets enjoyed higher status than painters and architects in Islamic countries.
  • Department: Islamic Art
  • Culture: Seljuk Iran
  • Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
  • Collection: Islamic Art
  • Accession Number: 1939.507

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps