Folio from the Blue Qur'an
Iraq; Abbasid, c. 800; Islamic Spain; Umayyad, or North Africa; Fatimid, 950 - 975 Text: Qur’an, Sura 2 (al- Baqara)
Parchment, gold, opaque pigment, silver additions
H. 28.6cm; W. 36.7cm
This folio originates from one of the best-known and most striking manuscripts of the Qur’an from the early medieval Islamic world. The rich contrast of gold script on indigo parchment, the large size, and the relatively good condition of this and other folios from the manuscript have established it as an iconic example of early Islamic religious art. The origins of this mesmerising manuscript have been debated by scholars for over a century, and suggestions have ranged from Abbasid Baghdad to Fatimid North Africa and Umayyad Spain. The most recent research has linked the production of this manuscript and its distinctive colour scheme to a programme of legitimisation under the Umayyad Caliphs of Cordoba in Southern Spain in the 10th century, specifically the patronage of the Umayyad Caliph al-Hakam II (r. 961–976 AD).