Name of Object:
Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum
Date of Object:
Hegira mid-7th century / AD mid-13th century
Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):
The work of ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn Sulayman (as stated on the interlocking ‘teeth’ of the Qur’an stand).
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Walnut wood, carved.
Height 107 cm, width 50 cm
Period / Dynasty:
Seljuqs of Rum (Anatolian Seljuq)
The decoration on this Qur’an stand, which is made from a single piece of wood, has been carved out from the wood, and consists of a combination of calligraphy and abstract floral motifs executed to the highest standard. The Arabic inscription, ‘the power lies in God’, is written in monumental knotted kufic script, within a square section in the upper half of the lectern, on a spiralling tendril, which provides a vivid yet unobtrusive backdrop that does not interfere with or cut in between the letters. The ‘Throne verse’ of the Qur’an – Sura 2 verse 255 – is to be found, framed and written in thuluth script, on the back. (‘God! There is no god but Him, the Living, the Eternal One. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. His is what is in heaven and what is on earth. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before and behind men. They can grasp only that part of His knowledge which He wills. His throne is as vast as heaven and earth, and the preservation of both does not weary him. He is the Exalted, the Immense One.’) A few tendrils fill in the small spaces left empty within the inscription.
View Short Description
Wooden folding stands were used in the Islamic world to hold heavy Qur’ans or other books to read while sitting on the floor. This remarkable example with fine arabesques and superb inscriptions was probably made in Konya, Turkey, to be given to a mosque by a Rum Seljuq sultan.
How date and origin were established:
The artist named in the inscription, ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn Sulayman, is probably the same artist whose wooden cenotaph exists in the Mevlana Tekke in Konya, which can be dated to be from the 13th century. If this assumption is correct, and both names denote the same person, then the Qur’an stand can also be dated to the mid-13th century. There is also a strong possibility for this date on stylistic grounds.
How Object was obtained:
As an anonymous gift in 1907.
How provenance was established:
Its provenance from Konya has not been guaranteed; however, a series of stylistically similar Qur’an stands makes its provenance from Konya very likely. The inscription of the carpenter’s name is further evidence of the existence of a tradition in the making of Qur’an stands.
Enderlein, V., Islamisches Museum, Rostock, 1983, pp.61–2, ill. 44.
Citation of this web page:
Annette Hagedorn "Qur’an stand" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;de;Mus01;22;en
Prepared by: Annette Hagedorn