Folio From A Qur'an: Sura 49: Mid 15 - Begin 16 (Recto), Sura 49: 16 (Verso)
verso © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Unknown Artist
Folio from a Qur'an: Sura 49: mid 15 - begin 16 (recto), Sura 49: 16 (verso)
Work Type
manuscript folio
10th century
Creation Place: Middle East, Iraq
Abbasid period
Physical Descriptions
Ink and gold on parchment
folio: 18.2 x 25.9 cm (7 3/16 x 10 3/16 in.)
Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Anonymous Gift in memory of Rudolph Meyer Riefstahl (1880-1936)
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

Label Text: Calligraphy and the Arts of the Book, written 1993
Folio from a Koran
Surah al-Hujurat (The Inner Apartments) 49:16, written in plain Kufic script
but God knows all that is in the heavens and on earth: He has full knowledge of all things.
Iraq, Baghdad, 9th century
Ink and gold on vellum
Anonymous gift in memory of Rudolph Meyer Riefstahl (1880-1936)

Before the use of paper became common, Korans were copied on parchment or vellum. Folios wider than high complemented the extended horizontal strokes developed for the early script known as Kufic. On this page, vowels are indicated by colored dots.

Label Text: The Continuous Stroke of a Breath: Calligraphy from the Islamic World, written 2003
Folio from a Qur'an
Iraq, 10th century
Ink and gold on parchment
Anonymous gift in memory of Rudolph Meyer Riefstahl 1956.197

TEXT: Qur'an 49:16
With its powerful and perfectly controlled kufic, this folio is one of the most beautiful surviving examples of an early Qur'anic text. The script is disciplined and the letters elegantly spaced. The calligrapher employed a technique known as mashq--the horizontal elongation of certain letters--to create a pulsing movement across the page. Diacritical marks are employed sparely, which means that the reader has to be familiar with the oral transmission of the text in order to make use of the written copy.

Label Text: The Hofer Bequest and Islamic Decorative Arts from the Fogg Collection, written 1980
[Considered for exhibition; Exhibition status unclear.]
Iraq or Iran, 9th century
Page from a Kufic Koran (49:16)
ink on vellum
Anonymous Gift in memory of Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl 1956.197

Label Text: Islamic Art: East and West, written 1982
Iraq, probably Baghdad, 9–10th century
Page from a Qur'an, Sura 49:16
Kufic Script
Anonymous Gift in memory of Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl, 1880–1936 1956.197

Publication History

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 38

Exhibition History

Islamic Art From the Collections of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 08/01/1974

Birds, Beasts and Calligraphies, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/11/1981 - 09/29/1981

Islamic Art: Drawings, Calligraphies and Objects, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/29/1983 - 09/25/1983

The Continuous Stroke of a Breath: Calligraphy from the Islamic World, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 12/20/2003 - 07/18/2004

Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur’an , Asia Society, New York, 10/07/2008 - 02/08/2009

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted