W.555: Qur’an

This manuscript is an elegantly calligraphed and illuminated large-format codex of the Qur’an (Qur'an). It was made for the library of the Mamluk official Aytimish al-Bajāsī (d. 802 AH / 1400 CE) that was established at the Bāb al-Wazīr in Cairo. The manuscript contains verses 142-252 from chapter 2 (Sūrat al-baqarah). It is volume two (al-juz’ al-thānī) of a set which originally had 30 volumes. The decorated binding is contemporary with the fourteenth-century text block.

Folio 1b

This page has a beautifully illuminated headpiece inscribed with the chapter heading Sūrat Maryam in gold in the central medallion. The script used for this chapter heading is described as a decorative New Abbasid style ('broken cursive'). The New Abbasid style has a very angular character and a vertical thrust to the letters. At the time this manuscript was produced, the New Abbasid style with its deliberately complex forms was generally relegated to chapter headings.