© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This item has been added to the Database within the Explore Islamic Art Collections project. Information is available in: English.

Name of Object:

Bifolium from the 'Nurse's Qur'an' (Mushaf al-Hadina)


New York, United States of America

Holding Museum:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

About The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Date of Object:

Hegira c. 410 / AD 1019–20

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on parchment

Period / Dynasty:



Probably Qayrawan, Tunisia


The Mushaf al-hadina was commissioned for donation to the Great Mosque of Qayrawan by the nursemaid of the Zirid ruler Abu-Manad Badis ibn al-Mansur (r. A.D. 996–1016). Written in a form of kufic script that was unique to North Africa, it is remarkable not only for its calligraphy but also for two inscriptions providing documentary evidence it was commissioned by a female servant of a royal medieval household. Female patrons associated with the Zirid court, whether princesses or in royal service, were not uncommon. They commissioned Qur’ans to demonstrate their wealth and piety. The manuscript was copied on animal-derived parchment, which remained in use in this region long after a shift to paper took place in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Iran.

Additional Copyright Information:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, James and Diane Burke Gift, in honor of Dr. Marilyn Jenkins-Madina, 2007

Citation of this web page:

 "Bifolium from the 'Nurse's Qur'an' (Mushaf al-Hadina)" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;us;Mus23;49;en

MWNF Working Number: US3 49


 Artistic Introduction

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Manuscripts


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