Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Theology & Religion > 122. Quran: 3rd section

122.  Quran: 3rd section, in muhaqqaq script with Persian interlinear translation. Manuscript on paper, copied by the calligrapher Mes`ud and illuminated by Mahfuz, two sons of `Abd al-Malek, scribe of Ghiyath, 91 leaves, 657 A. H. (1259 CE) RBML, Smith Oriental MS 263

Along with his magnificent collection of primarily western printed books and manuscripts on the history of mathematics and astronomy, David Eugene Smith gave to Columbia a number of Arabic and Persian manuscripts, including a number of Qurans and Quran fragments. This third volume of the Quran, from a set of thirty, is similar to volumes from the later Abbasid period in the Iranian-Iraqi tradition such as the eleventh-century Quran manuscript by Ibn al-Bawwab in the Chester Beatty Library, dated 1marc001.

The Persian interlinear translation is in a version of naskh script and appears in clusters of words and phrases, hanging at a forty-degree angle beneath the corresponding Arabic phrase. The muhaqqaq, used for the Arabic lines, was a favored script for the large Qurans of the 14th and15th centuries. Here, the majestic muhaqqaq, outlined in gold, allows only three lines per borderless page. In a reversal, the vocalizations are marked in gold that is highlighted by black. Other aids to pronunciation are marked in blue ink. The dots of the letters are black, nearly perfect circles. The text is punctuated with roundel verse endings illuminated in gold, brown and blue. Larger versions of these mark the end of every tenth verse, as well as the points of prostration, in the wide margins. An illuminated teardrop-shaped roundel in the margin also marks every fifth verse.

Gift of David Eugene Smith, 1931

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