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    Arabic and Persian Qur'an with a Beautifully Illuminated Double-Page Frontispiece

    Qur'an. [Western Iran or Ottoman Turkey, circa 13th -18th century]. Illuminated Arabic and Persian manuscript on paper. Large folio (14.125 x 8.25 inches; 359 x 210 mm). [388] leaves of cream-colored polished paper with outer corners rounded. Apparently complete. Written in 12 lines of naskh script in black ink, with diacritics and vowel points in black, and 12 lines of interlinear Persian translation in red ink in a smaller naskh script, with the 114 sura, or chapter, headings in gold in naskh script. The text is within an outer border, near the edge of the page, consisting of a gold rule outlined in black, and an inner border consisting of a gold rule outlined in black within one black, one red, and one blue rule. The text block measures approximately 10.125 x 5.375 inches; 256 x 136 mm. The leaves are unnumbered, but there are catchwords in the lower gutter margin of the verso of each leaf.

    The illuminated double-page frontispiece, or carpet pages, contain Qur'anic verses (the seven verses of first sura, "al-Fatiha" ("The Opening") on fol. 1b and the first four verses of the second sura, "al-Baqara" ("The Cow") on fol. 2a) within central rectangular panels, six lines of text in black naskh and six lines of translation in a smaller red naskh. The lines of text are separated by gold cloudbands outlined in black. The text area is enclosed by horizontal rectangular panels above and below, and vertical rectangular panels on either side, all within a border of blue palmettes against a gold ground. The horizontal panels above and below each contain a gold cartouche (with text apparently erased) between gold palmettes and half-palmettes on a blue ground filled with colored floral scrolls. The vertical panels contain six blue half-palmettes with lavender tendrils against a gold ground with small blue and reddish-orange flowers on a scrolling vine. The outer border contains on each leaf thirteen blue palmettes and two blue half-palmettes, each containing four small white flowers and a central red dot, alternating with pink half-palmettes against a gold ground containing orange and blue flowers.

    The thirty juz sections are marked in the margins with gold roundels outlined with black and red, within a blue circle with blue penwork decoration. The first seven or eight roundels have the original script still visible, the remaining have had the script erased and have had number of the juz written in blue. The verses are separated by small gold circles outlined in blue, with a central red dot and six surrounding blue dots. There are recitation marks in the margins in red and black, and ruku sections are indicated in the margins with the letter ayn in red or black, sometimes with the corresponding numbers. There are outer borders of blue, reddish-orange and gold, with a thin blue line around the gold edge of the border and projecting blue penwork finials.

    There is marginal commentary throughout in nasta'liq, sometimes written diagonally or in various shapes. The recto of the first leaf and the verso of the final leaf contain additional text or annotations in nasta'liq. There is considerable marginalia throughout in several different hands, in black ink, blue ink, and pencil, including some childish drawings in blue and pink pencil. The manuscript has been trimmed at one point, with some marginalia cropped.

    In an Ottoman-style binding of stamped, painted, and gilt red morocco with no flap. The covers with a central lobed medallion enclosing a floral motif, with a palmette above and below each end, all within a decorative gilt border. The binding is quite worn, with much of the morocco rubbed away, and has been rebacked with tan leather and with corners renewed with brown leather. The endpapers and flyleaves have been renewed. The carpet pages are very fragile, with several splits and repairs, but the gilt is still very bright. The manuscript has been heavily used and annotated, and several sections are considerably worn, with margins and corners strengthened or renewed, there are several early repairs. Housed in a custom gray cloth clamshell case lined with burgundy velvet.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 505

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