Name of Object:
Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum
Date of Object:
Hegira late 8th century / AD late 14th century
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Embossed, gilded and painted leather.
Height 95 cm, width 67 cm
Period / Dynasty:
From its large size, this binding of a one-volume Qur’an, covered in geometric ornamentation, must have been associated with the court. It cannot yet be related to a specific Qur’an manuscript. It is thought that this Qur’an was a gift from the Mamluk Sultan al-Ashraf Sha‘ban II (AH 764–78 / AD 1363–76) to one of his pious foundations. Several handwritten Qur’ans commissioned by this same patron are now kept in the National Library in Cairo.
View Short Description
Appropriately for a leather bookbinding of a Qur’an, an inscription from Sura 2 v.255 was chosen for the border. The middle field shows part of a repetitive geometrical pattern of 12-pointed stars typical of Mamluk works of art and architecture. Its large size indicates court associations.
How date and origin were established:
This book cover has been dated to the Mamluk period through comparisons with other Mamluk book covers that were donated by the Mamluk Sultan al-Ashraf Sha‘ban, and which are now housed in the National Library of Cairo.
How Object was obtained:
Probably through B. Moritz in Cairo, 1904.
How provenance was established:
The Qur’an’s binding was acquired in Cairo and is directly comparable to other similar Egyptian book covers, so it is very probable that it is from Egypt.
Atil, E., Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks,Washington, 1981, pp.2–27, no. 5–6.
Citation of this web page:
Annette Hagedorn "Qur’an binding" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;de;Mus01;29;en
Prepared by: Annette Hagedorn