Name of Object:

Qur’an leaf


Stockholm, Sweden

Holding Museum:

Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet)

About Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet), Stockholm

Date of Object:

Hegira 8th–9th centuries / AD 14th–15th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Paper, ink; calligraphy.


Height 44.8 cm, width 33.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Probably Egypt.


The single large leaf comes from a Qur'an manuscript. It shows 11 lines per page written in a fine muhaqqaq script in black ink on thick, well-polished, pale pink paper. The right edge of the leaf is cut. The text runs from sura al-takwir (LXXXI), verse 13, on the recto to sura al-tatfif (LXXXIII), verse 4, on the verso, which is presented now. Gold rosettes, irregularly decorated with blue dots, indicate the verses. One circular and two ovoid illuminated ornaments in the margin probably contain the words khamsa and 'ashra to mark every fifth and tenth verse. Both recto and verso pages possess a sura heading written in a white kufic script. The headings are set in illuminated rectangular panels, which have in the main field a blue ground decorated with gold arabesques. Each of the panels possesses an ovoid gilded medallion extending into the margin. In the upper part of the recto the word waqf is written in a cursive script, suggesting that the Qur'an from which the leaf comes was dedicated to a religious organisation.
The muhaqqaq script style was used for Mamluk Qur'an manuscripts of the AH 8th and 9th / AD 14th and 15th centuries. This large script has several notable features such as flat, stretched sublinear curves, letters with endings which terminate in sharp points andbreaks between the vertical and horizontal parts of some of the letters. The muhaqqaq is a style of script suitable for large format books. The use of coloured paper, especially pink, was popular among Mamluk scriptoriums.

View Short Description

On this leaf from a Qur’an the text runs from sura al-takvir (LXXXI) to sura al-tatfif (LXXXIII). Both sides have a sura heading. Gold rosettes indicate the verses, with illuminated ornaments in the margin. The Qur’an from which the leaf comes probably belonged to a religious organisation.

How date and origin were established:

From the style of script and the kind of illumination.

How Object was obtained:

Bequest from the Békésy collection.

How provenance was established:

From the style of script and the kind of illumination.

Selected bibliography:

James, D., Qur'ans and Bindings from the Chester Beatty Library: A Facsimile Exhibition, Dublin, 1980.
James, D., Qur'ans of the Mamluks, London, 1988.
James, D., The Master Scribes: Qur'ans of the 11th to 14th centuries AD. The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, Vol. II, London, 1992.
Lings, M. and Safadi, Y. H., The Qur'an, London, 1976.
Safwat, N. F., The Art of the Pen: Calligraphy of the 14th to 20th Centuries. The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, Vol. V, London, 1996.

Citation of this web page:

Friederike Voigt "Qur’an leaf" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;se;Mus01;6;en

Prepared by: Friederike VoigtFriederike Voigt

Friederike Voigt has an MA in Iranian studies, history of art and social science and is currently working on her doctoral thesis on wall tiles in architectural decoration of Qajar Iran. Since 2004 she has been a project-related curator at the Museum for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm for Museum With No Frontiers. She studied at Humboldt University in Berlin, at the University of Tehran and archaeology at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. She taught Persian language at several universities in Germany. She was an assistant curator at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Cultures at the Museum of Ethnology, State Museums of Berlin. Her main fields of interest are the material culture of Iran, especially of the Qajar period, and contemporary Iranian art.

Copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: SE 07


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Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

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Calligraphy Manuscripts

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