Name of Object:

Qur’anic illumination


Raqqada, Kairouan, Tunisia

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

About Museum of Islamic Art, Raqqada.

Date of Object:

Hegira 295 / AD 907

Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Fadhl Mawlat Abi Ayyub.

Museum Inventory Number:

Rutbi 64

Material(s) / Technique(s):



Oblong, 9 cm x 12 cm; 2 pages

Period / Dynasty:





The right-hand page has the illumination, which is framed inside a gilt rectangle. The central decoration has two concave diamond shapes with a gilt background marked with brown lines framing stylised multi-lobed fleurons. The decoration is surrounded on each side by six triangles containing similar floral motifs. The whole illumination is separated by strips on a white background dotted with brown markings and divided by gilt segments.
The left-hand page contains black kufic script. Vowels are marked by red dots and the hamza is shown with a green dot, as in the Abi al-Aswad system. The end of the verse is indicated by a triangle of three gilt dots. The end of the fifth verse is marked by a gilt medallion.
The title of the sura, with the number of its verses, is indicated on the same line by a gilt kufic inscription with brown edges which terminates in a palm-leaf motif pointing towards the left-hand margin.

View Short Description

The illumination, in a gold rectangular frame on the right-hand page, has two concave lozenges in its centre, gilded at the bottom and peppered with brown lines.
The left-hand page is written in black kufic script with the title of the sura and the number of verses given in golden kufic script.

Original Owner:

The Qur’an was part of a legacy (habus) left to the Great Mosque of Kairouan by Fadhl Mawlat Abi Ayub

How date and origin were established:

The colophon of the Qur'an includes the Act of Mortmain (Tahbis) dated 295 / 907.

How Object was obtained:

After the abolition of the habus foundation in Tunisia, the National Library obtained this Qur'an in 1967. In 1983 it went back to Kairouan, to the Centre of the Islamic Arts and Civilisation of Raqqada. It has been displayed at the Raqqada Museum of Islamic Art since 1986.

How provenance was established:

This Qur'an was copied and left to the Great Mosque of Kairouan by a woman who appears to be Kairouanese. It was probably copied in Kairouan itself which was a great centre of book production at the time.

Selected bibliography:

Ifriqiya: Thirteen Centuries of Art and Architecture in Tunisia, pp.175–6.

Citation of this web page:

Mourad Rammah "Qur’anic illumination" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;tn;Mus01;48;en

Prepared by: Mourad RammahMourad Rammah

Né en 1953 à Kairouan, docteur en archéologie islamique, Mourad Rammah est le conservateur de la médina de Kairouan. Lauréat du prix Agha Khan d'architecture, il publie divers articles sur l'histoire de l'archéologie médiévale islamique en Tunisie et participe à différentes expositions sur l'architecture islamique. De 1982 à 1994, il est en charge du département de muséographie du Centre des arts et des civilisations islamiques. Mourad Rammah est également directeur du Centre des manuscrits de Kairouan.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TN 76


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