[Persia, ca. 1600].
Illuminated manuscript in Arabic on paper. (BRMS 31)
The Quran, the sacred book of Islam, presents the text of God’s revelation that the prophet Muhammad (ca. 570–632) received through the angel Gabriel. This Quran is Bridwell Library’s most important example of the rich tradition of manuscript illumination in the Islamic world. Its 388 leaves exhibit the precise and graceful Arabic calligraphy that was customary of every Quran manuscript. Each page in the volume bears a unique decorative pattern executed with lapis lazuli (an expensive blue pigment imported from Afghanistan), other bright pigments, and burnished gold leaf. Similarly, each of the 114 surahs (chapters) of the Quran is separated by a gilded decorative panel.