• <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> THE PAPERS OF BREVET MAJOR GENERAL JOHN GROSS BARNARD (1815-1882), Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac. Estimate: $75,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> ALVIN LANGDON COBURN. London. With 20 photogravures by Coburn and text by Hilaire Belloc, London and New York: 1909. First edition. Est: $4,000-6,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> WILLIAM FADEN, A Plan of New York Island, with part of Long Island, Staten Island & East New Jersey. London: 1776. Estimate: $5,000-8,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> MAX BEERBOHM, Lord Curzon delivering an oration. Original drawing with collage. London, 1912. Est: $2,000-3,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> AMERICAN REVOLUTION, Recueil des Loix Constitutives des Colonies Angloises. A Philadelphie, et se vend a Paris: Cellot & Jombert, 1778. First collected edition in French. Estimate: $500-800
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN, Confederate General Joseph Johnston's copy of Sherman's General Orders No. 65 announcing the final agreement of Surrender, 27 April 1865. Est: $4,000-6,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> JOHN KEATS, Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of Saint Agnes and Other Poems. London: Taylor and Hessey, 1820. First edition of Keats’s third book.. Estimate: $5,000-7,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> M. T. Cicero's Cato Major, or his discourse of Old-age: With Explanatory Notes. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1744. Est: $5,000-8,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> WINSTON S CHURCHILL, History of the English Speaking Peoples. London: Cassell, 1956-58. First editions. Est: $1,500-2,500
  • <b>Auction Pierre Bergé & associés in association with Sotheby’s: Important Books and Manuscripts from the Library of Jean A. Bonna from the 15th to the 20th Century. Sale on April 26, 2017. Exhibition in London March 28-30</b>
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Galileo, <i>Discorsi e Dimostrazioni matematiche.</i> Leyde, Elzevier, 1638. Original edition: only known copy of the first state. €700,000 – 900,000
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Fables illustrated by Benjamin Rabier. Paris, Tallandier, without date [ca. 1910]. Superb binding doubled in vellum decorated with painted and mosaic decors by André Mare illustrating four fables. €10,000 – 15,000
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Gustave Flaubert, draft for the preface of the <i>Memoir for the defense of Madame Bovary</i>, 15-30 January 1857. Exceptiona signed autograph manuscript. €40,000 – 60,000
    <b>Auction Pierre Bergé & associés in association with Sotheby’s: Important Books and Manuscripts from the Library of Jean A. Bonna from the 15th to the 20th Century. Sale on April 26, 2017. Exhibition in London March 28-30</b>
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Boccace, <i>The Book of Praise and the Virtue of the Noble and Cleric Ladies.</i> Verard, 1493. First edition of the French version attributed to Laurent de Premierfait. €40,000 – 60,000
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Exceptional set of 15 original bindings by Jean de Gonet, on rare editions illustrated by Picasso, Matisse, Miro or original editions of Bataille or Radiguet.
  • <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> <i>The First American Magna Carta. English Liberties.</i> Boston, 1721.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Babbage presentation to Peel, the man who killed the Difference Engine 1832
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Stamp Act. 1765
    <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Central Park Photographs by Prevost 1862
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Salem Witch Trials. Wonders of the Invisible World 1693
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Mammoth print of Millie-Christine, "The Carolina Twins" c. 1868
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Malcolm X, typed manuscripts for the <i>LA Herald Dispatch</i> column "God's Angry Men," 1957.<br>$200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Frederick Douglass, Autograph Letter Signed to George Alfred Townsend, Washington, 1880.<br>$40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Carte-de-visite album featuring a previously unrecorded image of Harriet Tubman, 1860s.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Collection of documents from the Montgomery Improvement Association, Alabama, 1955-63. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Martin Luther King, Jr., working draft of the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Alabama, 1963. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> <i>Benjamin Bannaker's Almanac</i> for 1795, Baltimore. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Collection of 41 letters addressed to Rebecca Primus, 1854-72.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Abby Fisher, <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking</i>, first edition, San Francisco, 1881.<br>$10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Victor H. Green, <i>The Negro Motorist Green-Book for 1941</i>, New York, 1940. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar. 30:</b> Toni Morrison, <i>The Bluest Eye, </i>reviewer's copy, New York, 1971. $4,000 to $6,000.

A rare and finely decorated Qur’an leaf in eastern Kufic script

Lot Number 10

A rare and finely decorated Qur’an leaf in eastern Kufic script

Year Published circa 1075-1125 AD
Place Printed Persia or Central Asia
Printed By
Description A rare and finely decorated Qur’an leaf in eastern Kufic script, Persia or Central Asia, circa 1075-1125 AD
text: surah al-ma'idah (V), part of verse 41Arabic manuscript on buff paper, four lines to the page, written in fine eastern Kufic script in black ink, letter-pointing (i'jam) in black, vocalisation in red, blue and yellow, the entire background decorated with finely drawn floral and foliate scrolls in red ink on the recto and yellow ink on the verso, recto inner margins with gold scallops in gold, verso margins of strap-work against a gold ground, both sides with outer blue rules, with halved medallions stretching into outer margins31.7 by 21.2cm.
Comments This folio is an example of one of the most striking and beautiful Qur'anic scripts. It originates from a Qur'an of majestic elegance and breathtaking graphic power, and the decoration of the background of the entire text area throughout the manuscript marks it out as one of the most luxuriously decorated Qur'ans of the medieval period. The original manuscript was produced in thirty volumes, each containing around seventy-five leaves, giving a total of approximately 2,250 leaves (Saint Laurent 1989). It must have been a truly majestic sight. The calligraphic display is characterised by acute angularity and an almost ethereal attenuation. The tall, slim vertical letters contrast with the compact and tightly controlled sequence of letters that sit along the line, out of which the sub-linear tails of letters such as terminal nun extend, urging the eye of the reader along the line of script with rhythmic elegance. The tall, strong verticals of letters such as alif and lam also set up a beautiful contrast with the more subtle circular scrolling tendrils of the background decoration. And yet where the script produces a lam/ alif combination the scribe has curved both verticals in a concave manner to meet at the top, producing a perfect pointed oval which lies between the circular motion of the background scrolling and the vertical thrust of the tall letters. It is a calligraphic display that combines elegance, energy, originality and immensely skilful execution. In relation to the technical aspects of the script, Anthony Welch has observed that the vertical letters are six to seven times the height of the others, and that where the word Allah occurs, the double lam in the middle of the word, nestling below the majestic initial alif, forms a shape resembling the single lozenge mark made by the impression of the reed pen on the paper, which is the basic building block of Islamic calligraphy.  He suggests a spiritual aspect to the script in this context, where the foundation of the script (the lozenge dot) reflects the faith's true centre (Allah) (Welch 1979, p.64 and Geneva 1985, p.44). Although other Qur'ans of the period show elegant calligraphic displays and fine background decoration within the text area (see Lings 2005, nos.12, 14, 15, 17, 21, 24) the majority have the background decoration only on selected pages, and in a more simple style of tightly scrolling whorls executed in one colour. In the case of the present Qur'an, every page appears to have been decorated with the more elaborate floral scrolls seen here, and it is to be noted that the colours used to draw the scrolling background alternated between the brown seen here, a dark red, and a pale blue (for example, a folio in the Aga Khan Museum Collection, formerly the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection, see London 2007, no.5, p.34) The overall effect must have been truly breathtaking as the (no doubt princely) patron leafed through the complete manuscript. The dating of the manuscript is based on two other Qur'ans which employ very similar scripts and decorative schemes, one of which was copied in 466 AH/1073-74 AD by a scribe called Uthman Ibn Husayn al-Warraq (Mashhad, Imam Reza Shrine Library, no.4316, see Lings 2005, no.14), and the other in 485 AH/1092 AD (Istanbul, Topkapi Saray Library, R14, see Lings 2005, no.16). The question of the geographical origin of this Qur'an, and others in similar scripts, is an interesting one. While more cursive and less vertically stretched versions of so-called 'Eastern Kufic' script (also referred to as broken Kufic, broken cursive, Persian Kufic, New Style and Qarmathian) were known and used in Abbasid Iraq and as far west as Sicily in the tenth and eleventh century (the well-known Palermo Qur'an of 372 AH/982-3 AD and the famous Mushaf al-Hadinah, or 'Nurse's Qur'an', made at Qairawan in 410 AH/1019-20 AD are examples), it does appear that Eastern Persia had a particular taste for, and skill in executing, the types of graceful, attenuated and graphically extreme versions seen on this folio, especially those with an emphatic vertical thrust. The production of ceramics featuring elegant varieties of Eastern Kufic script in brown or black on cream grounds (known as Samanid epigraphic pottery) was a speciality of Nishapur and Samarkand under the Samanid dynasty (861-1003 AD) and represent some of the most elegant and arresting ceramics of the whole of Islamic cultural history (see, for example, London 1976, nos.279-281). Other related examples of Eastern Kufic and ornamental Kufic script occur on Seljuk, Ghaznavid and Ghurid monuments in Eastern Iran and Afghanistan, and it is likely that the popularity of this type of script seen in the epigraphic tradition of this region was present in the Qur'anic calligraphy of the same period. However, a more central geographic origin cannot entirely be ruled out, since there are examples of related scripts used in titles and headings of manuscripts produced in Iraq from the late ninth century onwards - the well-known Kitab al-Diryaq (Book of Antidotes), dated 1199 and produced probably in Northern Iraq (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, arabe 2964, see for example, Ettinghausen 1977, p.84), also employs a related script with a background floral scrolling decoration. Nevertheless, it has to be noted that most manuscripts from Iraq that employ this type of script do so predominantly in the context of titles and headings, rather than the main text, and by the mid-eleventh century in Iraq the calligraphic revolution set off by Ibn al-Bawwab's use of a small naskhi-style cursive script for his famous single-volume Qur'an of 391 AH/1000-01 AD (Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ms,1431) had established the use of cursive scripts for the majority of Qur'an manuscripts in the central Islamic lands. Thus it remains likely that the Qur'an from which the present folio originates, and related types, was produced in Persia or Central Asia. Another interesting aspect is the precise design of the background decoration of the text area, particularly the beautifully executed scrolling foliate motifs against which the script is set. A very similar motif is visible in one of the registers of the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan, built during the second half of the twelfth century (see Haussig 1992, p.85), perhaps strengthening the attribution of this Qur'an to an eastern Islamic origin. The scroll probably represents a stylized lotus scroll and, assuming that the date of this manuscript is the stated circa 1100 and the place of origin is indeed Eastern Persia or Central Asia, then it is interesting to note the spread westwards of this design, which appears in a very similar form in a Byzantine manuscript of Missals of the early thirteenth century (Moscow, GIM, Sin.604, see Dzurova 2002, no.106). Other leaves from this dispersed Qur'an are in the following collections:The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Minneapolis Art Institute; The Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Cincinnati Museum of Art; Topkapi Saray Library; Istanbul; the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin; the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin; the David Collection, Copenhagen; the Keir Collection, London; the National Library Cairo; the Aga Khan Museum Collection (formerly in the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection, Geneva); the Al-Sabah Collection, Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyya, Kuwait. For other published examples see Lings 1976, no.17; Lings 2005, no.23; Welch and Welch 1982, p.47; Atil 1990, p.113; Geneva 1985, no.13; Arberry 1967, no.37; James 1980, no.15; Robinson 1976, pl.139; London 2007, p.91; Blair and Blom 2006, no.5, p.34; Metropolitan 1987, p.33. For a full account and analysis of the manuscript, see St. Laurent 1989. Folios from this Qur'an appear extremely rarely on the market. Only five complete folios have appeared at auction, all in these rooms: 22 April 2015, lot 61; 6 April 2011, The Stuart Cary Welch Collection, Part One, lot 15; 15 October 1997, lot 10 and 7 December 1970, lot 3 (two in the lot). The 1997 leaf is now in the David Collection, Copenhagen (see Blair and Bloom 2006, p.91). A fragmentary folio appeared in these rooms 16 October 1996, lot 7.

Provenance: Fragments of only three sections of this Qur'an survive: juz' 6, juz' 14 and juz' 16. All those in Western collections are from surahs IV and V in juz' 6. The folios in both the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Cleveland Museum of Art were acquired in 1939, possibly from Kirkor Minassian, who supplied many of the institutional collections in the USA with rare books, manuscripts and calligraphy in the 1920s and 1930s. Many of the Near Eastern manuscripts and cuneiform tablets in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. were acquired from Minassian in the 1930s.
Estimated Price GBP 200,000.00 - 300,000.00
( USD 250,000.00 - 375,000.00 )
Actual Price GBP 377,000.00 ( USD 542,880.00 )



Auction House Sothebys
Website http://www.sothebys.com/
Auction Name Arts of the Islamic World
Sale Number #L16220
Auction Date April 20, 2016 - April 20, 2016
Sale Name Arts of the Islamic World
Total Lots 77
Description of Sale

Post Sale Description

Book Images
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books and Works on Paper. March 30, 2017</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Potter (Beatrix). The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first edition, first issue, [1901]. Part of an extensive, private Beatrix Potter collection. £15,000 - 20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Dodgson (Charles Lutwidge). The Hunting of the Snark, first edition, with original printed dust-jacket, 1876.<br>£7,000 - 9,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Buckland Wright (John). Pervigilium Veneris: The Vigil of Venus, number 1 of 100 copies (Christopher Sandford's copy), Golden Cockerel Press, 1939.<br>£2,000 - 3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books and Works on Paper. March 30, 2017</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Kelmscott Press. Keats (John). The Poems, one of 300, orig. vellum, 8vo, Kelmscott Press, 1894. £1,800 - 2,200
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Greenhill (Elizabeth).- Morison (Stanley) and Kenneth Day. The Typographic Book, 1450-1935, bound in dark green goatskin by Elizabeth Greenhill, 1963. £6,000 - 8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Fitzgerald (F. Scott). The Great Gatsby, first edition, first state dust-jacket, New York, 1925. £25,000 - 35,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books and Works on Paper. March 30, 2017</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Dionysius, <i>Halicarnassensis</i>. Antiquitates Romanae, Editio princeps, Treviso, Bernardinus Celerius, 24 or 25 February, 1480. £4,000 - 6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Canon Law. [Laurentius Puldericus. Breviarum decreti], manuscript in Latin, on paper, [?Germany], [c. 1450].<br>£5,000 - 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Swimming. Percey (William) The Compleat Swimmer: or, the Art of Swimming, first and only edition, by J.C. for Henry Fletcher, 1658. £5,000 - 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books and Works on Paper. March 30, 2017</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Binding with silverwork by Anthony Nelme. The Holy Bible, containing the Old Testament and the New: : newly translated out of the original tongues, Oxford, John Baskett, 1716. £10,000 - 15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> George IV's copy. Nash (John, architect). The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, one of 10 copies, 1826. £8,000 - 10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Blake (William, 1757-1827). "With Dreams upon my bed thou scarest me & affrightest me with Visions", 1825. £700 - 1,000
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “America the Beautiful”
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington, Tongue-in-Cheek, Writes James McHenry About His Wife or Mistress—But Funding the Continental Army is the Real Topic
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Young’s Map of the United States
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> President Lincoln & His Most Profitable Client, the Illinois Central Railroad
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Thanks Former Pro-Slavery and Newly Republican Congressman for a Fiery Anti-Slavery Speech at a Philadelphia Campaign Rally
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “A Visit From St. Nicholas” - great association copy inscribed by Clement C. Moore
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Einstein Agrees to Allow “a Short Book on the Hydrogen Bomb” to Use His Statement Made on Eleanor Roosevelt’s TV Show
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The Building Blocks of Albert Einstein’s Creative Mind
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> A Unique Manuscript Map of Block Island Sound Including Fisher’s and Gardiner’s Islands, the Hamptons, and Montauk Point
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> J.R.R. Tolkien Writes his Proofreader with a Lengthy Discussion of the Lord of the Rings, Including Criticism of Radio Broadcasts of his Work
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Six Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipts – Including his Earliest Obtainable Autograph — Acknowledging a Donation to the Famous Library Company He Founded, and Five Payments for His Pennsylvania Gazette
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Sherman Dishes on Lincoln & Thomas, Meade, Sheridan, Halleck & Grant
  • <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT. Autograph Manuscript Initialed ("E.B.B."), being the working notebook for the poems contained in <i>The Seraphim and Other Poems</i>. $400,000 to 600,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> WILDE, OSCAR. Two leaves, pp 31-34, from the first appearance of <i>The Picture of Dorian Gray in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine for July, 1890</i>, with Wilde's autograph revisions. $40,000 to 60,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories and Tragedies; Published according to the true Originall Copies. Second Impression. [THE SECOND FOLIO.]</i> $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> KENNEDY, JOHN FITZGERALD. Photograph Signed ("John F. Kennedy") and Inscribed, 8 x 10 inch gelatin silver print, of Senator Kennedy and Miss Barelli, at the swearing of the secretarial oath for Miss Barelli. $1,200 to 1,800
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter XXVII of <i>Afloat and Ashore</i>. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> IRVING, WASHINGTON. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter 20 from Volume IV of <i>The Life of George Washington</i>. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> VERNE, JULES. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Jules Verne"), being the complete short story "<i>Une fantaisie de docteur Ox</i>". $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> ALCHEMY. <i>[The Crowning of Nature, or Coronatio Naturae.]</i> Original alchemical manuscript on paper, ruled in red, with watermark of the arms of Schieland. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> DE JODE, CORNELUS. 1568 - 1600. <i>Quivirae Regnu, Cum Alija Versus Borea</i>. [Antwerp: Arnoldum Coninx, 1593]. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> HOOKER, JOSEPH DALTON. <i>The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya; Being an Account, Botanical and Geographical, of the Rhododendrons Recently Discovered in the Mountains of Eastern Himalaya</i>… $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> CATLIN, GEORGE. <i>North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting scenes and amusements of the Rocky Mountains and prairies of America. From drawings and notes of the author, made during eight years' travel.</i> $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. HESLER, ALEXANDER. Platinum print, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 in, of a beardless Lincoln, 1860.<br>$2,000 to 3,000