Page from a Qur’an
Raqqada, Kairouan, Tunisia
Museum of Islamic Art
Hegira 410 / AD 1020
'Ali ibn Ahmad al-Warraq.
Length 45.5 cm, width 31 cm; 5 lines, 1 folio
The Fatiha sura ('the Opening', verses 1 and 2), taken from a Qur'an copied on parchment.
The writing combines the kufic, naskhi and the rayhani styles. Its identity has still not been well established. The laying out of the cursive script is more rectangular than curved.
Vowel-points are absent from this writing, but, in keeping with the system developed by al-Khalil ibn Ahmad, there is an abundance of orthographic signs. Vowels are marked in red, sukun and shadda in blue and hamza and maddah in brilliant green.
Standing out on this page is a strip containing the title and number of verses in the following sura, written in gold.
The title is inscribed in a series of superimposed frames in which geometric decoration alternates with floral decoration using the multi-lobed fleuron. Some strips are engraved in gold and all the surrounds are brown. A palm-leaf motif made up of floral arabesques projects towards the edge of the page.
At the top of the page in the right-hand margin there is a geometrically decorated gold and brown lozenge; the corners each have a crown in the same colour and the sides have blue and brown circles on the outer edge.
The central area contains gilded kufic script indicating the number of the verses.
This page is from a Qur'an copied on vellum. Bands of geometric decoration with the name of the sura and the number of verses it contains, in gold, are particularly distinctive. The colophon of the Qur'an mentions the deed of gift by the governess of Prince Badis to the Great Mosque of Kairouan.
Fatima al-Hadinah, governess to the Zirid prince, Badis
The deed of gift clearly mentions that the legacy took place in 410 / 1020.
After the abolition of the habus foundation in Tunisia, this Qur'an was obtained by the Bardo Museum. In 1986 it was transferred to the Museum of Islamic Art at Raqqada where it is currently on display.
This Qur'an was copied, illuminated and bound by Ali ibn Ahmad al-Warraq for Fatima al-Hadinah, the governess of the Zirid prince, Badis. The work was supervised and financed by Durah al-Katibah – 'Durah the lady-scribe', the governess's secretary. The colophon of the Qur'an mentions the deed of gift by Badis's governess to the Great Mosque of Kairouan. The deed is authorised by the qadi (judge) of Kairouan, Abdullah ibn Hashim.
Lings, M., and Safadi, Y.-H., The Arts of Islam (exhibition catalogue), London, 1976, p.30, plate no. 25.
De Carthage a Kairouan (exhibition catalogue), Paris, 1982, p.273, plate no. 357.
Ifriqiya: Thirteen Centuries of Art and Architecture in Tunisia, pp.175–6.
Mourad Rammah "Page from a Qur’an" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;tn;Mus01;4;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 GomezMandi Gomez
Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.
True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.
MWNF Working Number: TN 06
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)Arabic Calligraphy | The Holy Qur’an Women | Muslim Women as Patrons The Fatimids | Royal Women: Granddaughters of Fatima al-Zahra′
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