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Double-page Illuminated Incipit
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Double-page Illuminated Incipit

Description Provenance Credit
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 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.
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 coated and polished paper
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
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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