SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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The Qur'an or Koran is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation from God. It is organized into 114 chapters, which consist of verses. In addition to its religious significance, it is widely regarded as the finest work in Arabic literature and has significantly influenced the Arabic language.

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Persia, 1686-87
Persia, 1686-87

AN ILLUMINATED QUR'AN COPIED BY MUHAMMAD RAFI' IBN FATHALLAH, PERSIA, SAFAVID, DATED 1098 AH / 1686-87 AD. Arabic manuscript on paper, 265 leaves, plus 3 fly-leaves, 16 lines to the page, written in naskh in black ink on the diagonal, ruled in red, green, blue and gold, verses separated by gold and polychrome roundels, surah headings in gold thuluth, juz' markewrs written in gold and red thuluth in the margins. f.265b with colophon, signed and dated. In a gilt black leather binding, paper doublures 18 x 9.2cm. The earliest use of a marginal diagonal column in secular texts in Iran is found in a manuscript of Nizami's Khamsa dated in 764 AH / 1362 AD. This arrangement provided the scribe with more space in which to write but also created a more dynamic layout in contrast to the horizontal lines of script in the central block of text (Wright 2012, p.128). The use of diagonal calligraphy is commonly associated with secular, poetic texts and calligraphic panels, yet this rare Qur'an is remarkable as the entirety of the text block, aside from the frontispiece, is written on the diagonal. The layout is emphasised by a particularly neat but angular style of naskh used by the scribe. In the colophon, the scribe mentions that this is his eighty-third copy of the Qur'an!

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