Bifolium from the "Nurse's Qur'an" (Mushaf al-Hadina)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. A.H. 410/ A.D. 1019–20

Geography: Made in Tunisia, probably Qairawan

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on parchment

Dimensions: H. 17 1/2 in. (44.5 cm)
W. 23 5/8 in. (60 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Purchase, James and Diane Burke Gift, in honor of Dr. Marilyn Jenkins-Madina, 2007

Accession Number: 2007.191


This double-page comes from a monumental sixty-part Qur'an manuscript probably produced in Qairawan, Tunisia. Executed in the "new style" script, the writing of this Qur'an was arranged with five lines to a page. Given the scale of the endeavor, the work was probably undertaken by a fully staffed workshop of calligraphers, illuminators, and binders. Variations in the calligraphy between individual folios seem to confirm this possibility, although the colophon notes that the entire manuscript, including its binding, was vocalized, illuminated, and gilded by ‘Ali ibn Ahmad al-Warraq (the papermaker), a renowned calligrapher and artist of the eleventh century. According to an annotation on another folio, the manuscript was commissioned by the nursemaid of a Zirid prince before being endowed to the Great Mosque of Qairawan during the month of Ramadan in A.H. 410 (A.D. 1019–20).