The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

For Kids: Bigger was Better

Suras 45:9–13, 45:13–16

What is it made of? Ink, color, and gold on paper

When was it made? Around 1400

Where was it made? Historic Iran, present-day Uzbekistan


These two pages belong to the largest and one of the most impressive Qur’ans ever produced! Their original borders have been lost, but each page must have measured about 5.5 x 3.25 feet.

We think these pages were created for the founder of the Timurid dynasty, known as Timur or Tamerlane, who lived more than six hundred years ago. He established one of the largest and most powerful dynasties of the Islamic world. Timur ordered his craftsmen to construct large buildings, many of which have since collapsed because they had to be built quickly. He also liked big objects and manuscripts, such as this Qur’an.

These pages may be part of a Qur’an written by a calligrapher known as Omar Aqta‘. The story goes that he copied a Qur’an that was so small, it fit into a ring. Timur was unimpressed by the work. So, Omar Aqta‘ made a new copy so large that it had to be carried by a wheelbarrow! This time, Timur was extremely pleased and showered Omar Aqta‘ with praise and royal favors.


Creating these huge sheets of paper must have been a difficult job. The papermaker may have used a ladle to scoop smaller pieces of the wet paper into floating molds that stuck together. Another possibility is that he made paper strips that he then pasted together. To this day, no one knows for sure.


Write a letter or postcard about a time when you had a difficult task to overcome. Think back to Omar Atqa‘ and his challenge for inspiration. What choice did you make to get through the challenge? What was the outcome? Share your story with your friends and family.

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