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Illuminated Timurid copy of the Qur’an

Walters manuscript W.563, this large-format, illuminated Timurid copy of the Qur’an is believed to have been produced in Northern India in the 9th century AH/AD 15th. The manuscript opens with a series of illuminated frontispieces. The main text is written in a large, vocalized polychrome Mu’aqqaq script. Marginal explanations of the readings of particular words and phrases are in Thuluth and Naskh scripts, and there is interlinear Persian translation in red Naskh script. The fore-edge flap of the gold-tooled, brown leather binding is inscribed with verses 77 through 80 from Chapter 56 (Surat al-waqi’ah).

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated incipit introducing chapter 1 (Surat al-fatihah). The verses are written in gold Muhaqqaq script outlined in black. Vocalization is in red, and counters are filled in in red and green. The ground is richly decorated with floral motifs. The margins contain various phrases and words with explanations of their readings according to different reciters.

This restored, illuminated frontispiece from Walters manuscript W.563 was probably once part of a double-page composition. It bears a central medallion with pendants flanked by 4 smaller roundels. Notes in Persian and Arabic concerning the recitation of some Qur’anic passages are inscribed all over the page.

This folio from Watlers manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated frontispiece that is inscribed with the names of the 7 reciters (qurra’) of the Qur’an and their transmitters (in gold) with 21 abbreviations (in blue) assigned to them according to the alpha-numerical system (abjad). The inscription in the upper and lower cartouches reads: asami al-qurra’ al-sab’ wa-riwayatuhum. The margins contain explanations of the number of readings in various chapters according to various reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated frontispiece that is inscribed with the names of the 7 reciters (qurra’) of the Qur’an and their transmitters (in gold) with abbreviations (in blue) assigned to them according to the alpha-numerical system (abjad). The margins contain explanations of the number of readings in various chapters according to various reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated frontispiece, decorated with a large circular medallion (shamsah) surrounded by 4 roundels. The area within the frame and the margins contains explanations of the number of readings in various chapters according to various reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated frontispiece, decorated with a large medallion surrounded by 4 roundels. The margins contain explanations of the number of readings in various chapters according to various reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated frontispiece with an inscription in the cartouches in gold reading: innahu la-Qur’an karim … nazil min rabb al-‘alamin (Chapter 56 [Surat al-waqi’ah], verses 77-80). Written in the margins is the phrase alayhim andhartahum am lam tunzirhum (Chapter 2 [Surat al-baqarah], verse 6) in the transmission (riwayat) of Qalun, written obliquely and repeated 18 times.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated incipit introducing chapter 2 (Surat al-baqarah), written in gold Muhaqqaq script outlined in black. Vocalization is in red, and counters are filled in in green. The ground is decorated with floral motifs. The margins contain various phrases and words with explanations of their readings according to different reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated incipit for chapter 7 (Surat al-a’raf). The text is inscribed in gold Muhaqqaq script, outlined in black with vocalization in blue and counters filled in in red and green. The ground is richly decorated with floral motifs. The margins contain various phrases and words with explanations of their readings according to different reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated incipit introducing chapter 19 (Surat Maryam). The text is written in gold Muhaqqaq script, outlined in black with vocalization in red and counters filled in in red and green. The ground is decorated with floral motifs. The margins contain various phrases and words with explanations of their readings according to different reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the right side of a double-page illuminated incipit introducing chapter 38 (Surat Sad) in gold Muhaqqaq script, outlined in black with vocalization in red and counters filled in in red and green. The ground is decorated with floral motifs. The margins contain various phrases and words with explanations of their readings according to different reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the left side of a double-page illuminated incipit introducing the final chapter, chapter 144 (Surat al-nas). The text is written in gold Muhaqqaq script, outlined in black with vocalization in blue and counters filled in in red. The ground is decorated with floral motifs. The margins contain various phrases and words with explanations of their readings according to different reciters.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 contains notations about the text.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the left side of a double-page illumination introducing Surat al-fatihah (ch. 1). It contains commentary on the manuscript in Arabic and Persian.

This folio from Walters manuscript W.563 is the left side of a double-page illumination introducing the Qur’an.

This original binding from Walters manuscript W.563 is composed of brown, gold-tooled leather (with a flap). The binding has a central lobed oval with pendants and cornerpieces, all with floral motifs, and a large border comprised of rectangular pieces with floral motifs. The doublures of reddish-brown leather are of similar design with filigree work on a blue ground. The fore-edge flap is inscribed with verses 77-80 from chapter 56 (Surat al-waqi’ah).

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By
  • Indian (Artist)
PERIOD

9th century AH/AD 15th century (Timurid)

MEDIUM

ink and pigments on thin laid paper covered with brown leather with gold and reddish-brown leather doublures
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)

ACCESSION NUMBER

W.563

MEASUREMENTS

Folio H: 15 3/4 x W: 12 3/16 in. (40 x 31 cm)

GEOGRAPHIES
  • northern India (Place of Origin)

About the Author
The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland is internationally renowned for its collection of art. The collection presents an overview of world art from pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th-century Europe, and counts among its many treasures Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi; medieval ivories and Old Master paintings; Art Nouveau jewelry and 19th-century European and American masterpieces.
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