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Description Fluid letters undulate across the page punctuated by illuminated medallions. They focus the reader’s eyes on the sacred words in this elaborately decorated copy of the Qur’an—the Muslim sacred text communicated by God (Allah) and dictated by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad. Inscriptions in the margins document readers’ interpretations of the text. The presence of the seal of the Ottoman sultan Bāyezīd II (r. 1481–1512) on various pages indicates that this lavish copy of the Qur’an was sent from India to Istanbul, sometime between the late 15th and early 16th century, perhaps as a diplomatic gift. At the time, Indian Muslims participated in a network of commercial, diplomatic, and artistic exchanges that extended throughout Asia Europe, and Africa. This large-format, illuminated Timurid copy of the Qur'an is believed to have been produced in northern India in the 9th century AH/15th century CE. 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 naskhi scripts, and there is interlinear Persian translation in red naskhi 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). The seal of Sultan Bayezid II (AH 886-917 AH/1481-1512 CE) appears on fol. 8a. There is an erased bequest (waqf) statement and stamp of Sultan 'Uthman Khan (AH 432-6/1027-31 CE) on fol. 3a.
Date Description Narrative
9/15/1981Examinationexamined for condition
  • Splendor in Books. Grolier Club, New York; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1977-1978.
  • Symbols of Faith. National Geographic Society, Washington. 1981-1982.
  • The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Masterpieces of Ornament. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • Bindings from the Islamic World. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • The Divine Word and Sacred Sites of Islam. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1997.
  • Speaking the Word of God: Illuminated Korans from the Walters Art Museum. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2007.
  • The Saint John's Bible: A Modern Vision through Medieval Methods. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009.
Provenance Sultan 'Uthman Khan [1]; Sultan Bayezid II [2]; Dikran Kelekian, New York and Paris; purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] Erased bequest (waqf) statement and stamp on fol. 3a [2] Seal on fol. 8a
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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15th century (Timurid)
ink, opaque watercolor, and gold paint on thin laid paper covered with brown leather with gold and reddish-brown leather doublures
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Folio H: 15 3/4 x W: 12 3/16 in. (40 x 31 cm)
  • India (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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