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Thursday, 25 October 2007

Record price for 13th-century Quran

Record price for 13th-century Quran
By Associated Press, Wed Oct 24, 2007
(Thanks to Bodrul Ali for highlighting this newspiece)

LONDON - A Quran written in 1203, believed to be the oldest known complete copy, has sold for more than $2.3 million at an auction.

The holy book, which had been estimated to sell for up to $715,000, fetched $2,327,300 at Tuesday's auction in London, Christie's said.

That was a record auction price for a Quran or any type of Islamic manuscript, the auctioneer Christie's said.

A nearly complete, 10th-century Kufic Quran, thought to be from North Africa or the near East, sold $1,870,000. Both were offered for sale by the Hispanic Society of America, and were purchased by trade buyers in London, Christie's said.

The record-setting Quran was signed by Yahya bin Muhammad ibn 'Umar, dated 17 Ramadan 599 (June 1203).

It was acquired in Cairo in 1905 by Archer Milton Huntington, who founded the Hispanic Society in New York City in 1904. Huntington, the adopted son of railroad and ship-building magnate Collis P. Huntington, died in 1955.

The calligraphy in the manuscript was done in gold outlined in thin black lines, and the marginal notes are in silver outlined in red. The kufic Quran bridges a gap between the earlier style, copied on parchment of horizontal format, and the later style of vertical composition, often on paper, Christie's catalog said. The kufic script takes its name from Kufah in Iraq, an early center of Islamic scholarship, according to the British Library. Because the script's vertical strokes were very short but the horizontal strokes elongated, it was written on papers in a landscape format.

Interesting Readings:

1. Pictures of Qur'ans - King Fahd Complex for The Printing of Holy Quran, Saudi Arabia
(This is a very useful website for research and gaining knowledge)

2. Pictures of another Gold Qur'an - The Johns Hopkins University - The Sheridan Libraries website

3. SULTAN BAYBARS' MAGNIFICENT QUR'AN (about 704 - 705 AH) - digitally available from the British Library)

4. Sultan of Brunei in row over £4m gold Koran - Telegraph, UK, 20.08.07

5. Did you know that David Khalili, a Jew from Iran has the largest collection of Islamic artifacts? Here is some some details about David Khalili: the art newspaper, forbes.com.

You can have a peek at this collection at his website http://www.khalili.org/

6. For those in the UK - why not visit the British Museum Islamic Collection? Here's a link to some of thier collection britishmuseum.org and discoverislamicart.org

7. islamicarchitecture.org is also a good website for Islamic art and architecture. It also has a good list of useful links.

For those outside the UK, islamicart.com has a small directory of useful Museums - why not pay them a visit and find out more about Islamic art? It is unfortunate to note today that looting in occupied Iraq and Afganistan has deprived us of a wealth of artifacts, maybe someday these items will end up at auction in Christie's or Sotherby's!

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