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Gold, ink and colors on parchment
Overall: 26.7 x 73 cm (10 1/2 x 28 3/4 in.); Text area: 22.8 x 30 cm (9 x 11 13/16 in.)
The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 1993.39.2.a
Because of its connection with the Koran, calligraphy was elevated above all other art forms in the Islamic world. From an awkward and nearly illegible form of writing, Arabic script was transformed during the 600s and 700s to make it worthy of recording the Divine word. By the 800s, Muslim scribes were producing copies of the Koran that were true calligraphic masterpieces. This Koran, written entirely in gold, exemplifies the angular form of writing known as Kufic at its majestic best. The text on the right page is the opening of the Chapter of the Star (53:1–21), which begins: “By the star when it plunges, your comrade is not astray, neither errs, nor speaks he out of caprice. This is naught but a revelation revealed, taught him by one terrible in power, very strong. . . . ”
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