SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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Cairo, Egypt, Dated AH721 / 1321 AD
D. James, 'Qur'ans of the Mamluks', London, 1988, not 3-12, pp.34-75.
Cairo, Egypt, Dated AH721 / 1321 AD

A rabic manuscript on thick cream paper; 238 folios plus one fly-leaf, each folio with 15 lines of neat black naskh script, margins ruled in red, gold roundel verse markers. Surah headings in gold thulth in panels outlined in red, illuminated rub (quarter), nusf (half), and hizb and jus' (section) markers in the margins. Gold and polychrome illuminated bifolio at the beginning proceeded by single illuminated page with rectangular panel of geometric illumination, final page with invocation and colophon written in gold thulth, areas of water staining and rubbing. Some finger soiling to most leaves of text. Housed within a protective Solander type box in half dark leather, with green cloth boards, with gilt lettering to spine. In 16th century brown morocco binding with gilt stamped central oval cartouche surrounded by and enclosing floral motifs, flap with inscription blessing this copy of the Qur'an. 17.6 x 12.8 cm. This is a splendid example of a signed and dated manuscript produced in Cairo during the 14th century. Although the nisba of the scribe, al-Dimashqi, suggests a Syrian origin for the present manuscript, a umber of scribes at the time of production travelled widely within the Manluk and Ilkanid empires as well as beyond. The present manuscript displays features typical of the Cairo style of the 14th century, such as the blue and gold frontispiece with a geometric design, the gold Kufic headings in a blue and gold floral cartouche displayed in the double-page illumination, and the gold surah headings executed in fine thulth script seen throughout the manuscript. It is therefore probable that it was completed by a Damascene scribe in Cairo. There are 16 folios - 10 in the middle of the manuscript, and 6 folios at the end, which are of a darker, thicker polished paper, but are contemporary with the rest of the work.