THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


4 Koran
Arabic manuscript on vellum, 92 leaves, Morocco? eleventh century (Smith Or. 342)
Characterized by long horizontals and low verticals, the Kufic script, named for the city of its origin, Kufah in Iraq, had, by the eighth century A.D., replaced earlier Arabic scripts. The Maghribi (Western) form of the script which developed in the Islamic West (Egypt, North Africa and Andalusia) is distinguished by verticals and downstrokes that arc to the left, free and open curves that form semi-circular word endings, and, distinctive to the style, flourishes extending to the words of the line below. In this Hispano-Moresque manuscript, large markings in green and red indicate vocalization, while smaller black dots differentiate consonants with shared identical outlines. The surah (chapter heading) begins with an elongated title and the number of verses in that chapter calligraphed in gold; also notable are the small gold designs marking verse endings and reading guides. The Koran is divided into thirty ajza' (parts); this manuscript includes parts twenty-six through thirty; the leaf shown has the last verses of al-Qalam (the Pen, chapter sixty-eight) and the beginning of al-Haqat (The Reality, chapter sixty-nine).
Gift of David Eugene Smith

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