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Qur’an case, Nasrid period (1232–1492)

Qur'an case, Nasrid period (1232–1492), second half of 15th century. Spain

Qur’an case, Nasrid period (1232–1492), second half of 15th century. Spain

This small Qur’an case, a quintessential devotional and amuletic object, is inscribed with the Nasrid dynastic emblem: “There is no conqueror but God” (La Ghalib ila Allah).

Gilt silver wire, carefully embroidered, decorates the front and back of the case. The pattern is a balanced composition between abstracted vegetal designs and inscriptions. On the front, the Nasrid shield is set on a decorative background. The declarative inscriptions around the case suggest that it once belonged to a Nasrid ruler, though the particular owner remains unknown. One possible clue to the identify of the owner is a silver embroidered right hand with palm side up at the center of the empty leather space under the flap. The back is not as richly decorated as the front. Yet it is carefully constructed of an embroidered eight-pointed star with four interlaced knots framed by the Nasrid dynastic motto, “There is no conqueror but God,” on the right and left.

Source: Qur’an case [Spain] (04.3.458) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art



About the Author
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, in the City of New York. The Museum's collection of Islamic art ranges in date from the seventh to the nineteenth century. Its nearly twelve thousand objects reflect the great diversity and range of the cultural traditions of Islam, with works from as far westward as Spain and Morocco and as far eastward as Central Asia and India. Comprising sacred and secular objects, the collection reveals the mutual influence of artistic practices such as calligraphy, and the exchange of motifs such as vegetal ornament (the arabesque) and geometric patterning in both realms.
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