Folio from a Qur’an, Sura 38:75-83

Folio from a dispersed copy of the Qur’an; recto; Sura Sad (Sad) 38: 75-78, recto begins with “min al-‘alamayn” verso; sura 38: 79-83, verso begins with “rabbi”; Arabic in black maghribi script with gold knot and rosette verse markers, illuminated marginal roundel containing the word for ‘ashr (ten) indicating the end of a tenth verse, and illuminated pear-shaped medallion containing the word for khams (five) indicating the end of a fifth verse; vocalized in red, tashdid and sukun in blue, hamza in yellow dots; one column; seven lines of text.

Historical period(s)
15th-16th century
Medium
Black ink, gold, red, blue, yellow, and green paint on parchment
Dimensions
H x W: 25.8 x 18.6 cm (10 3/16 x 7 5/16 in)
Geography
North Africa or Spain
Credit Line
The Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection
Accession Number
S1997.105
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Detached manuscript folio

Keywords
Islam, maghribi script, North Africa, Qur'an, Spain, sura 38, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Ralph and Catherine Benkaim

Description

Folio from a dispersed copy of the Qur'an; recto; Sura Sad (Sad) 38: 75-78, recto begins with "min al-'alamayn" verso; sura 38: 79-83, verso begins with "rabbi"; Arabic in black maghribi script with gold knot and rosette verse markers, illuminated marginal roundel containing the word for 'ashr (ten) indicating the end of a tenth verse, and illuminated pear-shaped medallion containing the word for khams (five) indicating the end of a fifth verse; vocalized in red, tashdid and sukun in blue, hamza in yellow dots; one column; seven lines of text.

Label

As one of the most sophisticated cultural and artistic centers of the medieval Islamic world, southern Spain (Andalusia) and northern Africa developed their own distinct script, known as maghribi. Derived from kufic, this particular script is recognizable by its even vertical and horizontal strokes that range from relatively thick to wispy thin lines and deep sublinear flourishes. Elaborate gold motifs, such as the bold knot here, often marked the end of verses. The maghribi script has remained relatively consistent throughout the centuries and is still used in northern Africa. The verses describe a dramatic exchange between God and the devil:

He said, O Iblis [devil]! What hindereth thee from falling prostrate before that which I have created with both my hands?
Art thou too proud or art thou of the high exalted?
He said: I am better than him. You didst create me out of fire, whilst him Thou didst create of clay.
He said: Go forth from hence, for lo! Thou art outcast, And lo! My curse is on thee till the day of judgment.

Published References
  • Catherine Glynn Benkaim. The Aesthetics of Calligraphy. Exh. cat. Los Angeles. cat. 40.
  • Thomas Lawton Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. p. 146, fig. 2.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum