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14th Century Qur’an Stand

Qur'an Stand, Iran, 1360 A.D.

14th Century Qur’an Stand, Iran, 1360 A.D.

Three layers of superb carving combining vegetal motifs and calligraphic inscriptions cover the surface of this Qur’an stand. The inscriptions include decorative arrangements of the words Allah, ‘Ali, and Muhammad, and blessings upon the Prophet and the Twelve Imams. In addition, they provide us with the information that the stand was made by Hasan [ibn] Zain ibn Sulaiman al‑Isfahani for endowment to a madrasa, or theological college, in the year 1360.

14th Century Quran Stand. Image Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

14th Century Quran Stand. Image Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Intricate Carving Details

Image Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Signature: Arabic inscription on the inner face of the Qur’an stand in thuluth script-in six segments-three of which are missing:

1 and 6 on right side
4 and 5 left side
Missing is side 2, 3 and half of side 4

“Oh God! May He bless Muhammad and his family and peace and that (…) / … and the commander of the believers ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib /, may God’s good favor be upon all of them! / Endowment of the madrasa Sadr-abad in Anar , may God protect and preserve it from the transitoriness (of time)! [made in] in [the month of ] Dhu l-Hijja [of the year A.H.] 761 [/ October-November 1360 A.D.]

(After a religious formula: The beginning of the inscription has been defaced. It may have included the names of the first three caliphs. The designs on the exterior bearing the names of the twelve Shi’a Imams must be carved later than the date of the stand)

On the top square panel outside (in each side) is the word Allah is written four times in square thuluth script

On the bottom panels there are Shi’i prayers for the Prophet Muhammad and twelve imams in thuluth script

(on one side up until Muhammad Baqir and on the side until al-Hujjat al-Mahdi (the last and absent Imam).

The bottom panel under the flower vase in angular kufic

(The sovereignty belongs to God)

on the other side

(The gratitude to God)

The name of the wood carver on the two corners of one side written in naskhi script as:

The work of Hasan-i Zain-i Sulaiman-i Isfahani

Inscription: Inscribed in Arabic in thuluth script on inner face of stand in six segments,
three of which are missing:

اللهم صلّ علی محمد و علی آل محمد سلّم و
]. . .[ و أمیر المؤمنین علي بن . .
ابي طالب رضوان الله علیهم اجمعین
وقف مدرسهٔ صدر آباد انار صانها الله عن الآفات — في ذي الحجة حجة إحدی و ستین
و سبعمائة
May God bless Muhammad and his family and [. . .] and the commander
of the faithful ‘Ali son of Abi Talib, may God’s good favor be upon all of
them! Endowed to the Madrasa Sadrabad in Anar, may God protect and
preserve it from disaster! In the month of Dhu l-Hijja of the year A.H. 761
[October – November 1360 A.D.]

On top square panel outside (in each side), four times in square thuluth script:
الله
Allah

On bottom panels in thuluth script:
[Shi‘i prayers for the Prophet Muhammad and the Twelve Imams
(on one side up to Muhammad Baqir, on other up to al-Mahdi)]

On bottom panel under flower vase in angular kufic script:
الملك لله
Dominion [belongs to] God

On other side:
الشكر لله
Gratitude is to God

On two corners of one side, signature in naskhi script:
عمل زین؟ حسن سلیمان اصفهانی
The work of Zain[?] Hasan Sulaiman Isfahani

 

  • quran in islamic arts
  • 14th century quran stand motif
  • quran cover
  • quran history museum

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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