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Manuscript/Mixed Material Qur'an carpet page; al-Fatihah

About this Item


  • Qur'an carpet page; al-Fatihah

Created / Published

  • 14th century


  • -  Calligraphy, Arabic
  • -  Manuscripts, Arabic--Washington (D.C.)
  • -  Egypt
  • -  Arabic script calligraphy
  • -  Illuminated Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Islamic calligraphy
  • -  Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Thuluth


  • -  The main text is in Naskh script, also has thuluth script in recto section, Qur'an from Mamluk era Cairo. 14-15th centuries.
  • -  All or parts of these five verses appear on decorative carpet pages intended to begin the Qur'an or to separate various parts (sing. juz', pl. ajza') of the Holy Book. They remind the reader of the sacred character of the Qur'an, while providing an artistic, visual break from the text per se. For a similar use of these verses on a carpet page dividing a juz', see 1-87-154.151 R.
  • -  And that is indeed a mighty urging if you but knew, / That this is indeed a Glorious Qur'an / In a Well-Guarded Book, / Which none shall touch but those who are clean: / A revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.
  • -  In the top and bottom blue rectangular registers decorated with interlacing gold vine motifs appears the title of the surah in now oxidized white ink. This particular heading specifies that the Fatihah was revealed in Medina and includes seven verses, [29] words, and 120 letters. The number of words (29), which would have appeared in the lower right corner of the folio, unfortunately is now missing. The interest in counting the total number ayahs (verses), words, and letters in various chapters and throughout the Qur'an not only provides an indexical apparatus for the Holy Book, but also may serve various practices concerned with letter mysticism or the esoteric sciences of letters ('ilm al-huruf).
  • -  Recto: Dimensions of illumination: 14.4 (w) x 14.2 (h) cm. Verso: Dimensions of Written Surface: 5.7 (w) x 6.1 (h) cm.
  • -  Script: Verso: naskh
  • -  The decorative patterns and palette of this carpet page are typical of 14th-century Mamluk Qur'ans made in Egypt (see Lings 2004, pls. 40 and 124; and Lings and Safadi 1976: no. 75 and pl. IX). In this case, the centerpiece consists of a hexagon prolonged to form alternating gold and blue polygons and four eight-pointed stars in each corner of the rectangular frame. Although now oxidized and thus appearing gray in color, the lines creating the forms were executed with white ink (see 1-88-154.8a). The polygons alternate between gold designs on a blue ground and blue designs on a gold ground, while the eight-pointed stars contain palmette and bulb-like gold motifs on a blue ground. Around the edge of the panel, the border consists of interlacing gold zigzags that end in a marginal anse, also containing gold interlacing floral vines on a blue background.
  • -  The script in the main text frame is naskh, a cursive style preferred in Qur'ans made in Cairo during the 14th and 15th centuries. This particular naskh contains more angular strokes used for the letters qaf (q) and 'ayn (glottal stop) and the loops of the 'ayns are filled in with black ink. The main text, executed in six lines and provided with ayah markers in the shape of six-petalled gold flower
  • -  The verso of this folio contains the first chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Fatihah (The Opening). It is the third of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript now held in the collections of the Library of Congress. The other four folios are: 1-88-154.168 R, 1-88-154.8a, 1-88-154.8b R, and 1-88-154.8b V.
  • -  This folio contains a Qur'an opening carpet page. It is the second of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript now held in the collections of the Library of Congress. The other four folios are: 1-88-154.168 V, 1-88-154.8a, 1-88-154.8b R, and 1-88-154.8b V. Together with 1-88-154.8a, this folio constitutes the double-page illuminated frontispiece of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an.
  • -  This folio contains the continuation of verses 76-80 of the 56th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Waqi'ah (The Inevitable), contained in the top and bottom rectangular panels of the double-page illuminated frontispiece. Folio 1-88-154.8a contains verses 56:76-78 and this folio continues with verses 56:79-80. All four verses introduce the Qur'an as a blessed and precious book revealed by God, which must be touched only by those who are pure both physically and psychologically. The verses go as follows:
  • -  Script: Recto: thuluth
  • -  1-89-154.168


  • 1 volume ; 23.4 (w) x 28.2 (h) cm


  • Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019714488

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The contents of the Library of Congress Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions and are free to use and reuse.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, African and Middle East Division, Near East Section Persian Manuscript Collection

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Chicago citation style:

Qur'an carpet page; al-Fatihah. 14th Century. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

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Qur'an carpet page; al-Fatihah. 14th Century. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

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Qur'an carpet page; al-Fatihah. 14th Century. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.