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Miniature Qur’an (nearly complete)

Accession Number: Lilly Library, Adomeit Miniature Islamic Manuscripts C10

Date and location: 19th or early 20th century, Iran

Binding: The folios of this manuscript are hand-sewn together using pink and green thread. They are secured within a binding made of brown leather stretched over a baseboard. The covers are devoid of any decoration and scuffed from use. The doublures are ornamented with paper pastedowns bearing a floral design in green and beige ink.

Number of folios: 187

Dimensions of folios: 4.4 x 4.4 cm

Dimensions of written surface: 3.2 x 3.3 cm

Average number of lines of text per folio: 19

Color of ink: Black

The scuffed leather cover of this miniature Qur’an indicates that the manuscript was well-used. A hole gouged in the spine suggests that it once featured a hook or eyelet to attach a small chord or loop of thread so that it could be hung from a wall, bed, or other object.


This simple square manuscript contains the complete Qur’an up to and including the 107th sura, known as al-Ma’un (Almsgiving). The sequence of the final and shortest suras of the Qur’an, nos. 108-114, is inexplicably missing from the volume. These include Surat al-Kawthar (Abundance), al-Kafirun (The Disbelievers), al-Nasr (Succour), al-Masadd (The Palm Fibre), al-Ikhlas (The Fidelity), al-Falaq (The Daybreak),and al-Nas (The People). This omission is all the more puzzling given the apotropaic qualities attributed to both the 113th and 114th qur’anic chapters, Surat al-Falaq (Daybreak) and Surat al-Nas (Mankind; see cat. entry for Adomeit C3). The qur’anic text has been copied onto polished beige rag paper with visible chain lines. No decorative illumination signals the beginning of the sacred text. Surat al-Fatiha (The Opening) is merely preceded by a single blank flyleaf. The written surface is delineated by a circular frame drawn in black ink. On some folios this frame is highlighted through the addition of gold paint. All sura headings appear in horizontal registers similarly embellished through the application of gold paint. The codex has sustained extensive water damage as well as deterioration along the upper edge of numerous folios. Several of these folios have also been sliced diagonally along their upper edge, perhaps in an attempt to initiate their repair. Interestingly, the spine of the codex has been gouged in its centre with a sharp object, probably through the insertion of a hook or eyelet to facilitate its suspension.

There is no identifiable entry for this manuscript in the Union List of Arabic Manuscripts. The manuscript is possibly discussed in Adomeit Personal Inventory Sheets, cat. no. 13.