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Walters Ms. W.853.II, Koran
This square-format manuscript is volume 2, containing chapters 19-114 (Surat Maryam through Sūrat al-nās), of an illuminated two-volume Qur'an produced in Sub-Saharan (West) Africa in the thirteenth century AH / nineteenth CE. The text is written in Sūdānī script in dark brown ink with vocalization in red on loose leaves. Chapter headings are in reddish-brown ink. Three yellow dots outlined in red arranged in a triangular form separate verses. Polychrome circular medallions as well as square and rectangular devices in a variety of patterns and colors mark textual divisions. The leaves of the text are organized between two decorated boards with geometric compositions. The pages and boards are housed in a leather pouch (satchel).
13th century AH / 19th CE
Sub-Saharan (West) Africa
The primary language in this manuscript is Arabic.
Cream European laid paper, probably Italian (fragments of tre lune watermark visible)
Catchwords: On versos
Comments: Loose leaves stacked between boards
11.0 cm wide by 11.0 cm high
6.5 cm wide by 8.5 cm high
- Columns: 1
- Ruled lines: 9
- Title: al-Qurʾān
- Text note: Contains chapters 19-114
- Hand note: Written in a Sūdānī hand in dark brown ink with vocalization in red
- Decoration note: Chapter headings in reddish-brown ink accompanied by marginal geometric designs; three yellow dots outlined in triangular form as verse markers; polychrome circular medallions as well as square and rectangular devices in a variety of patterns and colors as textual divisions of sixty (ḥizb), thirty (juzʾ), and seven (subʿ) sections
- Title: Right side of a double-page frontispiece with geometrical design
- Form: Frontispiece
- Label: This is the right side of a double-page frontispiece in the form of a square with geometrical design in the center.
- Title: Left side of a double-page frontispiece with geometrical design
- Form: Frontispiece
- Label: This is the left side of a double-page frontispiece in the form of a square with geometrical design in the center.
- Title: Text page with chapter heading for chapter 19
- Form: Chapter heading
- Text: Surat Maryam
- Label: This text page has the chapter heading for chapter 19 (Surat Maryam) written in reddish brown ink, indicating title, number of verses, and place of revelation as Mecca.
- Title: Chapter heading for chapter 20
- Form: Chapter heading; marker for textual division
- Text: Sūrat Ṭā Hā
- Label: This text page has the chapter heading for chapter 20 (Sūrat Ṭā Hā) written in reddish-brown ink. In the margin is a circular medallion marking the division of the text into sixty sections (ḥizb).
Lower board inside:
- Title: Inside of the lower board
- Form: Binding
- Label: The inside of this lower board is decorated with a star-shaped geometric design. The loose leaves of this Qur'an are sandwiched between this board and the upper board. It is common for Qur’ans from Muslim sub-Saharan Africa to assume this format.
Two loose boards decorated on both sides with geometric designs and fastened with leather thongs; leaves and boards protected within a leather pouch (satchel) with flap and thong on the outside
Sam Fogg Rare Books and Manuscripts, London; Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, by purchase
Simpson, Marianna Shreve. “Expanding Boundaries: A Manuscript of the Qur’an from Sub-Saharan Africa (W.853).” Journal of the Walters Art Museum 62 (2004): 237-239.
Principal cataloger: Gacek, Adam
Catalogers: Landau, Amy; Smith, Sita
Editor: Bockrath, Diane
Conservators: Jewell, Stephanie; Quandt, Abigail
Contributors: Barrera, Christina; Emery, Doug; Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William; Simpson, Shreve; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Valle, Chiara
The Walters Art Museum
Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.