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Topic: illuminated manuscripts

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Coptic Manuscript
Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This eighth- or ninth-century Qur'an was written in a script that is characterized by a rightward slant and by the shape of the vowel ya' in the terminal position, which turns backward to underline the letters ... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Magnificent in size, this folio comes from one of the oldest surviving Qur'an manuscripts in existence. It is written in an early version of the kufic script with no diacritical marks to distinguish the letters... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

While the earliest surviving Qur’ans were copied in a tall, streamlined script known as hijazi on a vertical parchment support , such preferences were abandoned during the Umayyad period as scribes developed th... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

This double folio was once bound in a multivolume Qur'an manuscript. The calligrapher wrote in bold kufic script with black ink using a broad‑nibbed reed pen. Red and green dots indicate the vowels. Verse marke... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This small-scale Qur'an was used as an intimate personal object, probably worn or carried as an amulet during travel. Despite its diminutive size, it shares many features with other early Qur'ans, which were of... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

The angular kufic script of this page is moderated by the roundness of many letters that resemble large black dots, their inner blank spaces reduced almost to a needle point. The colored marks help the reader t... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Like many early Qur’an folios, this example is written in parchment in black ink using a broad-nibbed reed pen. The emphatically elongated letters seen here are characteristic of early kufic Qur’ans on parchmen... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

The tradition of dyed manuscripts developed in Byzantium for making valuable books, such as the Gospels. The technique continued into the early Islamic period, with the Blue Qur’an as its most spectacular manif... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Made in probably Egypt

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Like many early Qur’an folios, this folio is written in parchment in black ink using a broad-nibbed reed pen. The horizontal, rounded letters seen here are characteristic of early kufic Qur’ans on parchment, an... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

This is the second volume of a thirty-part Qur’an meant to be read over the course of a month. It is typical of early Qur’ans, but includes some embellishments not found in earlier, more austere copies, such as... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Like many early Qur'an folios, this one is written on parchment in black ink with a broad-nibbed reed pen. The horizontally elongated letters seen here are characteristic of early kufic Qur'ans on parchment, an... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

The tradition of dyed manuscripts developed in Byzantium for making valuable books, such as the Gospels. The technique continued into the early Islamic period, with the Blue Qur’an as its most spectacular manif... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

These two leaves from an early Qur'an are written in kufic script in dark brown ink, with vowel markings in red. The chapter heading, with two ornate arabesque leaves in the margin, is richly gilded. The text i... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript
Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Made in Eastern Islamic Lands

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Attributed to Eastern Islamic lands

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This folio features a number of decorative elements that were meant to assist the reader by rendering the text of the Qur’an more legible. The kufic letters are written in brown ink, with the words’ vowels indi... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This folio, copied in floriated "new style" script, exhibits a striking balance of rigorous discipline and exuberant imagination. The fourth line of text is much larger than the rest and its vertical letters en... more

"Hare", Folio from the Mantiq al-wahsh (Speech of the Wild Animal) of Ka'b al-Ahbar

"Hare", Folio from the Mantiq al-wahsh (Speech of the Wild Animal) of ...

This page from a zoological manuscript contains lines of text and two drawings of wild animals, a lion (recto) and a hare (verso). Although fragmentary pages with drawings are not uncommon from the Fatimid peri... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

The manuscript to which this page once belonged, copied in floriated "new style" script, exhibits a striking balance of rigorous discipline and exuberant imagination. The calligrapher pushes the boundaries of t... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript
Folio from a Quran Manuscript
Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This folio from a Qur’an is written on paper in black new style script, with vocalizations in red, diacritical marks in gold, and other orthographical signs in blue and black. The golden medallions are verse ma... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Made in probably Egypt

Block-printed Talismanic Circular Leaf
Manuscript

Manuscript

Found Egypt

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This double-page from a Qur'an comes down to us with the fascinating information that the nursemaid to one of the Zirid rulers of North Africa commissioned it for donation to the Great Mosque of Qairawan. It is... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

These two pages almost certainly come from a dispersed Qur'an dated A.H. 485/A.D. 1092 in "new style" script. This script was used mainly in the eastern Islamic lands after paper replaced parchment as writing m... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This page almost certainly comes from a dispersed Qur'an dated A.H. 485/A.D. 1092 in "new style" script. This script was used mainly in the eastern Islamic lands after paper replaced parchment as writing materi... more

Anthology of Persian Poetry (Safina)

Anthology of Persian Poetry (Safina)

Long, narrow books bound on the short edge are known as 'safina', a word meaning 'boat'. They were a popular form for collections of works by different poets. This 'safina', dated 1681 and 1685, contains poem... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Made in Western Iran or Northern Iraq

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Made in Western Iran or Northern Iraq

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an are held in the Museum collection. Among these folios is the colophon page, with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al‑Zanjani from the town of Zanjan, in northwestern Ir... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an are held in the Museum collection. Among these folios is the colophon page, with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al‑Zanjani from the town of Zanjan, in northwestern Ir... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an are held in the Museum collection. Among these folios is the colophon page, with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al‑Zanjani from the town of Zanjan, in northwestern Ir... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an are held in the Museum collection. Among these folios is the colophon page, with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al‑Zanjani from the town of Zanjan, in northwestern Ir... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an are held in the Museum collection. Among these folios is the colophon page, with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al‑Zanjani from the town of Zanjan, in northwestern Ir... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an are held in the Museum collection. Among these folios is the colophon page, with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al‑Zanjani from the town of Zanjan, in northwestern Ir... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an are held in the Museum collection. Among these folios is the colophon page, with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al‑Zanjani from the town of Zanjan, in northwestern Ir... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

The Museum owns eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an. These include a colophon page with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al-Zanjani, from the town of Zanjan in northwestern Iran, and the date of completio... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Eight folios of this dispersed Qur'an are held in the Museum collection. Among these folios is the colophon page, with the signature of the scribe Muhammad al‑Zanjani from the town of Zanjan, in northwestern Ir... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

These folios from a dispersed Qur'an exemplify the transition during the Seljuq period from Qur'ans written in kufic script on parchment to those copied in the more rounded new-style writing on paper. By the la... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Written in Eastern or new style kufic script , line two of this folio includes two long, vertical letters (alif and lam), forming a distinctive pointed oval-shaped pattern. The elaborate treatment of the backg... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This folio from a dispersed Qur'an exemplifies the transition during the Seljuq period from Qur'ans written in kufic script on parchment to those copied in the more rounded new-style writing on paper. By the la... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Often Qur'ans were divided into thirty sections, each called juz'. This manuscript represents portions of the twenty‑ninth juz' of such a set. A colophon survives on another section, providing the date. The tex... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Attributed to Egypt or Syria

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

The Qur'an consists of 114 chapters (suras) of uneven length. A system was therefore devised to divide the Qur'an into thirty equal parts, enabling a reading of generally uniform length each day of the month. ... more

Gospel with Silver Cover

Gospel with Silver Cover

These jeweled, enameled, and gilt-silver repoussé covers for a gospel are examples of the work produced in the late seventeenth-century silversmith workshop of Kayseri. Both front and back cover are signed, inf... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Attributed to probably Iran

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This large folio comes from a magnificent two-volume Qur'an. In Spain, as in North Africa, Qur'an manuscripts and Qur'anic calligraphy retained archaic features long since abandoned farther east. Such features ... more

Folio from the De Materia Medica of Dioscorides

Folio from the De Materia Medica of Dioscorides

Dioscorides, a physician in the Roman army, wrote a herbal in Greek in the first century A.D., discussing, as was traditional for the genre, the characteristics of each plant, its habitat, and its use. The natu... more

Munajat (Confidential Talks) of 'Ali ibn Abu-Talib

Munajat (Confidential Talks) of 'Ali ibn Abu-Talib

The munajat, or “confidential talks,” of the first Shiite Imam 'Ali b. Abi-Talib take the form of prayers to God. Along with the forty sayings of Imam 'Ali, akin to the hadith, or traditions of the Prophet Muha... more

"Preparing Medicine from Honey", from a Dispersed Manuscript of an Arabic Translation of De Materia Medica of Dioscorides

"Preparing Medicine from Honey", from a Dispersed Manuscript of an Ara...

One of the most influential medical treatises handed down to Muslims was De Materia Medica, by a first-century b.c. Greek physician in Cilicia (southern Anatolia). The left page concerns making medicine from ho... more

"Physician Preparing an Elixir", Folio from a Materia Medica of Dioscorides

"Physician Preparing an Elixir", Folio from a Materia Medica of Diosco...

Figural book painting started in the Islamic world as an art form in the late Abbasid Iraq of the 13th century. The translation of a Greek manuscript shows a Physian preparing an elixir. Attributed to Iraq or N... more

"Men Treading Grapes", Folio from a Materia Medica of Dioscorides

"Men Treading Grapes", Folio from a Materia Medica of Dioscorides

Illustrations in early Islamic manuscripts produced by the Baghdad School were greatly influenced by Greek and Byzantine prototypes; the text often included the translation of Greek scientific manuscripts, such... more

"Pair of Serpents", Folio from a Manafi' al-Hayawan (On the Usefulness of Animals) of Ibn Bakhtishu'

"Pair of Serpents", Folio from a Manafi' al-Hayawan (On the Usefulness...

This folio exemplifies the impact of Chinese art on Iranian painting as a result of the Mongol conquest. The lava-like rock at the right and the tree with its knotty bark and twisted form are adapted from Far E... more

"Oxen amongst Foliage", Folio from a Manafi' al-Hayawan (On the Usefulness of Animals) of Ibn Bakhtishu'

"Oxen amongst Foliage", Folio from a Manafi' al-Hayawan (On the Useful...

The manuscript from which this folio derives explains the habits and medicinal properties of the animals depicted within. The color scheme of this painting, together with the presence of a large lotus blossom ... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Made in probably Syria

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Already in the 11th century Qur'anic writing changed from the ceremonial hard to read angualr kufic to the cursive scribes' script (naskhi) which is much more legible. A full set of diacritical marks help to vo... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Attributed to Egypt or Syria

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This Qur’an folio, which is one of a group of ten, is written in muhaqqaq script. Each folio has seven lines with interlinear Persian translation in naskhi script. The verses 102-110 belong to Surah Kahf (The... more

"Nushirvan Receives Mihras, Envoy of Caesar", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Nushirvan Receives Mihras, Envoy of Caesar", Folio from a Shahnama (B...

The Byzantine emperor, concerned about the possibility of an invasion by the mighty Iranian forces, sent an embassy under his general Mihras carrying a letter of conciliation and lavish gifts, and a peaceful ag... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript
"Zal is Restored to his Father Sam by the Simurgh", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Zal is Restored to his Father Sam by the Simurgh", Folio from a Shahn...

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020) Attributed to Northwestern Iran or Baghdad

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This Qur’an which probably belongs to fourteenth century Iran is written in muhaqqaq script. Each folio has seven lines with interlinear Persian translation in naskhi script. This folio has an ornamental medall... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

While the style of illumination and use of muhaqqaq script point to a fourteenth century date for this Qur’an, the place where it was copied is uncertain. The size of the manuscript, the type of paper it is wr... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

As the second volume of a seven-part Qur'an manuscript, this codex contains no colophon, but it opens with an elaborately illuminated double page bearing intricate geometric strapwork closely comparable to desi... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This folio from a Qur'an is written in Maghribi ("Western") script, so-called for the region of North Africa and Southern Spain where it was developed and popularized. Identified by its curvilinear form, Maghri... more

"Buzurjmihr Explains the Game of Backgammon (Nard) to the Raja of Hind", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Buzurjmihr Explains the Game of Backgammon (Nard) to the Raja of Hind...

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020) Made in Iran or Iraq

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

This fragment of a page comes from one of the largest copies of the Qur'an ever produced. Each line of script, written in the muhaqqaq style, is over three feet long, and each page was originally over seven fee... more

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

This fragment of a page comes from one of the largest copies of the Qur'an ever produced. Each line of script, written in the muhaqqaq style, is over three feet long, and each page was originally over seven fee... more

"Gustaham Kills Lahhak and Farshidvard", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Gustaham Kills Lahhak and Farshidvard", Folio from a Shahnama (Book o...

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020) Attributed to Northwestern Iran or Baghdad

"Iskandar Kills the Habash Monster", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi

"Iskandar Kills the Habash Monster", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Ki...

The leader of a pack of huge wolves encountered by Iskandar and his troops in Habash (Abyssinia) is described by the poet as having one dark horn on its head. The artist has depicted a long unicorn-like creatur... more

"Rakhsh Kills a Lion while Rustam is Asleep", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi

"Rakhsh Kills a Lion while Rustam is Asleep", Folio from a Shahnama (B...

The two miniatures 69.74.8 and 69.74.9 illustrate the first and second of Rustam's seven ordeals. The first depicts the frequently illustrated scene of Rustam's gallant horse Rakhsh killing a lion while the he... more

"Bahram Gur Exhibiting his Prowess in Wrestling at the Court of Shangul, King of India", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Bahram Gur Exhibiting his Prowess in Wrestling at the Court of Shangu...

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020) Made in Iran or Iraq

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

In these folios from a Mamluk Qur’an manuscript, verses are written in a black ink in naskhi script inside cloud-bands, a device inspired by Chinese art, against a hatched background. The sura heading is decora... more

"Rustam Kills the White Div", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Rustam Kills the White Div", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

The basic iconography of this popular tale of heroism was developed by the fourteenth century and continues essentially unchanged. A Mongol-featured Rustam wears his familiar tiger skin while his robe beneath a... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This Qur’an, which probably dates to fourteenth century Iran, is written in muhaqqaq script, a version practiced at the Ilkhanid court. Each folio has seven lines with interlinear Persian translation in naskhi ... more

"Buzurgmihr Masters the Game of Chess", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Buzurgmihr Masters the Game of Chess", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of...

The text of the Shahnama has its own version of how the game of chess was introduced into Iran from India. In order to avoid paying tribute to the Sasanians, the rajah of Hind (India) sent an envoy challenging ... more

"Gushtasp Kills the Wolf of Fasiqun", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Gushtasp Kills the Wolf of Fasiqun", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of K...

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020) Attributed to Northwestern Iran or Baghdad

"The Nobles and Mubids Advise Khusrau Parviz about Shirin", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"The Nobles and Mubids Advise Khusrau Parviz about Shirin", Folio from...

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020) Made in Iran or Iraq

"Yazdegird I Kicked to Death by the Water Horse", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Yazdegird I Kicked to Death by the Water Horse", Folio from a Shahnam...

The legendary death of the Sasanian king Yazdegerd I–who was said to have been kicked by a horse that magically emerged from a spring–is charmingly depicted in this leaf from a dispersed manuscript of the Shahn... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This Qur’an which probably belongs to fourteenth century Iran is written in muhaqqaq script. Each folio has seven lines with interlinear Persian translation in naskhi script. The verses 86-89 from Surah al-A’ra... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Made in Egypt or Syria

"Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman", Folio from a Shahnama (Bo...

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020) Made in Iraq, possibly Baghdad

"How Rustam Found a Spring", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi

"How Rustam Found a Spring", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of ...

The two miniatures 69.74.8 and 69.74.9 illustrate the first and second of Rustam's seven ordeals. The first depicts the frequently illustrated scene of Rustam's gallant horse Rakhsh killing a lion while the he... more

"Kai Khusrau Enthroned Holding a Sword", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

"Kai Khusrau Enthroned Holding a Sword", Folio from a Shahnama (Book o...

This illustration from the Shahnama shows Kai Khusrau on his throne holding the sword with which he will execute Afrasiyab for the murder of Siyavush, bound and standing before him. Next to Afrasiyab is his br... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

This Qur’an which probably belongs to fourteenth century Iran is written in muhaqqaq script. Each folio has seven lines with interlinear Persian translation in naskhi script. The verses 75-81of this folio belon... more

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Folio from a Quran Manuscript

Made in probably Egypt

Section from a Quran Manuscript

Section from a Quran Manuscript

This fragment of a page comes from one of the largest copies of the Qur'an ever produced. Each line of script, written in the muhaqqaq style, is over three feet long, and each page was originally over seven fee... more

Seated Figure with Crossed Legs Holding a Carafe