Folio From A Qur'an: Sura 4: 160 -161 (Recto), Sura 4: 161-162 (Verso)
verso © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1982.40
Title
Folio from a Qur'an: Sura 4: 160 -161 (recto), Sura 4: 161-162 (verso)
Other Titles
Series/Book Title: Qur'an
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
late 12th-early 13th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Period
Seljuk-Atabeg period
Culture
Persian
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
folio: 31.1 x 21.3 cm (12 1/4 x 8 3/8 in.)
Provenance
Philip Hofer, Cambridge, MA (by 1982), sold; to [Greater India Company, Inc.], Cambridge, MA, 1982] sold; to the Fogg Art Museum.
Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Fund for the Acquisition of Islamic Art
Accession Year
1982
Object Number
1982.40
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions

Label Text: Calligraphy and the Arts of the Book, written 1993
Folio from a Koran
Surah al-Nisa' (The Women) 4:160-1
Written in tall Kufic script with spiral scroll background
Iran, late 11th century
Ink with gold and opaque watercolor on paper
Fund for the Acquisition of Islamic Art
1982.40

In the Eastern Islamic world, calligraphers modified Kufic script by exaggerating the vertical elements of letters and replacing round elements with angular ones. Page format became vertical. This folio and others from the same Koran are distinctive for their background decoration of vinescrolls and palmettes added after the text was written.

Label Text: Arabesque, written 1990
Qur'an page
Surah al-Nisa' (The Women) 4: 160 – 1
Iran, late 11th century
Ink with gold and opaque watercolor on paper
Fund for the Acquisition of Islamic Art
1982.40

Label Text: Islamic Art: The Power of Pattern, written 1989
Qur'an page
Surah 4: al-Nisa' (The Women), verses 160 – 1:
“In that they hindered many from God’s way – that they took usury though they were forbidden and devoured men’s substance wrongfully – We have prepared for those among them who reject the Faith a grievous punishment.”
Iran, Late 11th century
Ink with gold and opaque watercolor on paper
Acquisition of Islamic Art
1982.40

Label Text: Islamic Art: East and West, written 1982
Iran, Seljuk, 11–12th century
Page from a Qur'an, Sura 4:60–61
“Qarmathian” Kufic script
Purchase – Discretionary Fund of the Islamic Department 1982.40

Publication History

Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), page 79/figure 83

Beatrice Saint Laurent, "The Identification of a Magnificent Koran Manuscript", Les Manuscrits du Moyen-Orient, Varia Turcica, ed. François Déroche, Bibliothèque nationale de France and Institut Français d'Etudes Anatoliennes d'Istanbul (Istanbul, Paris, 1989), vol. VIII, pp. 115-123, p.115, note 2.

François Déroche, ed., Les manuscrits du Moyen-Orient : essais de codicologie et de paléographie (Paris, 1989), pl. XV A

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 44

[Exhibition listings] A Garden of Art: Masterpieces of Islamic and Indian Art (9th-18th Century), Orientations (December 1985), p. 62, ill.

Toby Lester, "What is the Koran?", The Atlantic Monthly, ed. Mr. William Whitworth (Boston, MA, January 1999), vol. 283, no. 1, pp.43-56, pp.51

Exhibition History

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

Islamic Art: The Power of Pattern, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/23/1989 - 01/17/1990

Arabesque, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/01/1990 - 03/24/1991

Calligraphy and the Arts of the Book, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/25/1993 - 01/30/1994

Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur’an , Michael C. Carlos Museum of Art, Atlanta, 08/28/2010 - 12/05/2010; Asia Society, New York, 10/07/2008 - 02/08/2009; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 11/03/2007 - 02/03/2008

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Verification Level

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