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Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Overall: 32 x 21.3 cm (12 5/8 x 8 3/8 in.); Text area: 23 x 16 cm (9 1/16 x 6 5/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1939.507.a
Calligraphers and poets enjoyed higher status than painters and architects in Islamic countries.
Arabic calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, was elevated above all other art forms in the Islamic world because Allah, or God, revealed the divine word of Islam to the Prophet Muhammad (570–632) in the Arabic language. This Qur'an page is considered one of the most splendid examples of Arabic calligraphy. Based on the proportions of Arabic letters, majestic eastern Kufic script features attenuated letters with long upstrokes and low strokes swaying to the left. Contours echoing the letters separate the sacred text from the lively arabesque background. This vertical layout on paper replaces the earlier horizontal format on parchment.
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