A journey to search my soul

This is a blog of my personal collections. The purpose of this blog is to educate myself and public in regards to antiquities especially related to religion and calligraphy. I welcome everyone to input their feedback in this blog which they think would be helpful. I do not watermark the photos in this blog so everyone is free to use them as long as they are not used for illegal and unethical reasons. I appreciate if you could notify me if you plan to use any of the photos here. Enjoy browsing!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 109 : Antique Mamluk Qur'an folio ( 12th century)

This is a folio from a Quran. I acquired this leaf from a friend in Istanbul recently. He claimed this is from Mamluk.
 From the design especially on the roundel, it undoubtedly of Mamluk. However I am puzzled on the script used thoughout text block. As far as I know Muhaqqaq was used during the time of Mamluk. At first I could not figure out the script in this folio. The title was written in Muhaqqaq or Thuluth all right. However the rest of the script was so compact and letters are so close to each other. Could this possibly a smaller version of Muhaqqaq which is Reyhani and written in a compact way?
I did some research and comparisons and I found out that similar script was used in Mushaf of Mamluk displayed in the book, The Art of Calligraphy on plate 34. The script is called compact rayhan. In Nassar Mansour book titled Sacred Script Muhaqqaq in Islamic Calligraphy, there is also a similar calligraphy on page 161 which he called this script Rayhan which is a smaller version of Muhaqqaq.
From the book " The 1400th Anniversary of the Quran", the Quran leaves depicted were quite similar in the script execution i.e Rayhan script.
However from "Splendours of Quran Calligraphy & Illuminations" on 11th century Al Bawwab's Quran, plate 27, the script is quite similar to my leaf but Martin Lings labelled it as Naskh. Nassar argued that this script in fact was Rayhan and he detailed out the reasons in his book as mentioned above from page 60-72.

Title Page :
Content    : Surah Taghabun from Al Quran
Date         :12-14th century
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : n/a
Origin      : Iraq/Iran
Place acquired : Istanbul
Illuminations : Nil
Calligraphy : Main text in compact Rayhan script. Titles in gold in Thuluth
Number of lines :18 lines per page
Inks          : Black with subtitles in gold
Punctuation: gold floral disc with multi color dots around it.
Frame       : Double red line frame
History of Manuscript : Acquired from a friend who has a manuscript bazaar in Istanbul. He has a few folios from the same Quran. But I only bought a folio from him.
Number of folios : 1 f
Support of writing : Brownish oriental paper
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :Nil
Dimensions : 23.5 cm x 16.5 cm
Binding   : Nil
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks : The calligraphy in this manuscript is quite compact compared to typical Mamluk Muhaqqaq Quran. I have a quran written in Muhaqqaq and notice the difference.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 108 : Antique Etiopia Illuminated Handwritten Quran Koran 1240 AH

This is the first dated Etiopia Quran I ever acquired. It came from the city of Harrar. This complete Quran was copied by Sadik Bin Haj Ahmadi Bin Muhammad Al Amin Bin Ahmad Malik Bin Sulaiman in the month of Rajab 1240 AH ( 1825 CE)
The first 2 pages were decorated with typical Etiopia motive with water color. 
Another interesting feature about this Quran is that it is not binded. It loose pages were wrapped by brown leather cover with a flap.  Compare this Quran with my Sub Saharan Quran with loose pages :

This is a very rare acquisition because we dont see many Etiopian Quran in the market or in international hands. 
A partial Quran was sold at Christie's for more than USD5000 ( sale 5526, Lot 367)
 Etiopia Quran at Christie's
I am blessed to have acquired this beautiful manuscript.
Look my other Etiopian Qurans as below links:
Etiopian Quran Comparison
Etiopia Minhajul Muslimin

Title Page : Nil
Content    :A Complete Quran
Date         : 1240 AH ( 1825 CE)
Copyist    : Sadik Bin Haj Ahmadi Bin Muhammad Al Amin Bin Ahmad Malik Bin Sulaiman
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Harrar Etiopia
Place acquired : Etiopia
Illuminations : First 2 pages with colorful illuminations. A colopon on last page
Calligraphy : Naskh
Number of lines :15
Inks          : Main text in black with diacritical marks in red
Punctuation: yellow circle to separate between verses.
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript :
Number of folios : 321 ff
Support of writing : Western paper
Gatherings :Nil.Loose leaves
Catchwords :first word on subsequent page in bottom left of recto
Dimensions : 21.0 cm x 17.0 cm
Binding   :Brown leather with flap
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks : The first dated Etiopia Quran in my collection.