Isl. Ms. 231


[Majmūʻat suwar min al-Qurʼān,late 15th or early 16th century].[مجموعة سور من القرآن,اواخر القرن 15م او اوائل القرن 16م].

Uniform Title:



Unidentified-Can you help supply this information? Please comment!

Place/Date of Production:



24 leaves :paper ;233 x 163 mm.


Elegant copy of a selection of sūrahs (suwar) from the Qurʼān, namely Sūrat Yāsīn (36), Sūrat al-Fatḥ (48), Sūrat al-Wāqiʻah (56), Sūrat al-Mulk (67) and Sūrat al-Nabaʼ (78).

Other Title(s):

Koran.Sūrat Yāsīnقرآن.سورة يسKoran.Sūrat al-Fatḥقرآن.سورة الفتحKoran.Sūrat al-Wāqiʻahقرآن.سورة الواقعةKoran.Sūrat al-Mulkقرآن.سورة الملكKoran.Sūrat al-Nabaʼقرآن.سورة النبأ


Islamic calligraphy--Specimens.
Calligraphy, Arabic--Specimens.
Writing, Arabic--Specimens.
Manuscripts, Arabic--Michigan--Ann Arbor.


Headpieces (layout features)15th century.




Ms. codex.
Title supplied by cataloguer.


Can you help transcribe the incipit? Please comment!


Can you help transcribe the explicit? Please comment!


Can you help transcribe the colophon? Please comment!


Can you help transcribe the dedication? Please comment!


1. p.2-p.16 : Sūrat Yāsīn.
2. p.16-p.28 : Sūrat al-Fatḥ.
3. p.28-p.36 : Sūrat al-Wāqiʻah.
4. p.37-p.43 : Sūrat al-Mulk.
5. p.43-p.47 : Sūrat al-Nabaʼ.

Physical Details:

3 IV (24) ; exclusively quaternions ; pagination in pencil, Western numerals (supplied during digitization).


Written in 9 lines per page with uppermost, middle, and lowermost large lines filling the column width and two sets of three compact lines centered between them ; frame-ruled.


Fine calligraphic specimen ; elegant Persian hand ; lines in upper and lower panels of each page in muḥaqqaq, line in central panel in thuluth, lines in intermediate panels in naskh, sūrah headings in riqāʻ ; partially seriffed (mainly right-sloping wedge head-serif) ; fully vocalized.


Exquisite illuminated headpiece (ʻunwān / sarlawḥ) at opening on p.2, consisting of rectangular piece with gold cartouche carrying sūrah heading in white and defined by looping white banding (with black crosses) on grounds of gold and lapis lazuli overlaid with swirling vegetal pattern, all bordered in a series of elaborate bands in gold, white, lapis lazuli, black, red, turquoise, etc. ; surmounted by a narrower rectangular panel carrying lozenges filled with delicate vegetal decoration, itself surmounted by an uppermost semi-circular piece (dome) evoking half of an eight-lobed piece (defined by looping white banding) in gold and lapis lazuli with arabesque in turquoise and further swirling vegetal decoration, all surmounted by vertical stalks (tīgh) ; simpler illuminated headpiece consisting of rectangular panel with cartouche carrying the sūrah heading in white on a gold ground flanked by accent pieces in gold and lapis lazuli with swirling vegetal pattern and surrounded by bands of white, gold, blue, red, etc. appears at opening of each sūrah thereafter (p.16, p.28, p.37, and p.43) ; verse dividers in the form of interlace rosettes in gold with black, red, and blue accents appear throughout ; marginal decoration in the form of roundels in blue, green, and gold with "عشر" in white 'Kufic' script (marking every ten verses, though many effaced), other roundels in gold and blue with "خمس" in white (marking every fifth verse, though many effaced) ; written area throughout surrounded by elaborate frame consisting of a series of narrow bands in gold, light blue, dark brown to red, turquoise, and lapis lazuli ; floral decoration in blue, gold, red, and black reminiscent of the central decorative panel and pendants of a book cover flank the centered lines ; upper, middle, and lower large lines chrysographed (vocalization in black).


non-European (likely Persian) laid paper with roughly 7 laid lines per cm. (vertical) and sporadic chain lines mainly visible only in short lengths ; thick and sturdy though crisp ; well-sized and burnished ; laid paper stabilizing opening leaf carries an imitation watermark ("اثر جديد عهدة ...").


Pasteboards covered in dark brown leather ; Type II binding (with flap) ; board linings in lined paper pasted over brown leather doublures, likely with leather filigree appliqué, see interior of envelop flap ; upper and lower covers carry large gold-stamped panel stamp (repeated twice to fill the entire area) filled with symmetrical vegetal design incorporating chi clouds, as well as border in a series of lozenge- and rosette-shaped stamps with outermost series of tooled s-shapes ; sewn in red thread, two stations ; overall in somewhat poor condition with lifting and losses of leather, abrasion, staining, etc.

Former Shelfmarks:

"224 T. D. M.[?]" inscribed in pencil on interior of upper cover ; "196" inscribed in pencil on 'title page' (p.1).


Lacks dated colophon ; decoration and calligraphy reminiscent of the Timurid style characteristic of late 15th century Herat ; paper would also suggest late 15th or possibly early 16th century ; binding would suggest 16th century.

Ownership and History:

Inscriptions in pencil on interior of upper cover "224 T. D. M.[?]" and 'title page' (p.1) "196" ; several other dated statements (mid-18th to late 19th century) precede and follow text.


Acquired by purchase (funds donated by Horace Rackham).

Contributor(s) / Included work(s):

Koran.Sūrat Yāsīnقرآن.سورة يسKoran.Sūrat al-Fatḥقرآن.سورة الفتحKoran.Sūrat al-Wāqiʻahقرآن.سورة الواقعةKoran.Sūrat al-Mulkقرآن.سورة الملكKoran.Sūrat al-Nabaʼقرآن.سورة النبأ

Former Owner(s):

Abdülhamid II, Sultan of the Turks, 1842-1918, former owner.

In Collection:

Abdul Hamid Collection.


Brend, Barbara. "The arts of the book," In R.W. Ferrier, ed. The arts of Persia. (New Haven, CT, 1989),p.237 ; 241Loveday, Helen. Islamic paper: a study of the ancient craft. ([London?], 2001),p.84 f.Déroche, François. "Written transmission." In The Blackwell companion to the Qur'ān. Ed. Andrew Rippin, (Oxford, 2006), pp.172-186,see p.182

Images1 2

Posted by evyn on October 6, 2010
Tags: Abdul Hamid Collection, Arabic MSS, Fully Catalogued

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