Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide Arts of the Islamic World
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By the mid-fourteenth century, a number of more cursive writing styles had replaced kufic as the preferred scripts for the Koran. One of the most prevalent scripts was muhaqqaq, notable for its tall, slender verticals and sweeping sublinear strokes. Used throughout the Islamic world—from Egypt to India—for copying of the Koran, the script's combination of vertical and horizontal letters lend it a distinct visual dynamism. The other popular cursive script was thuluth, reserved primarily for monumental inscriptions on objects, buildings, and chapter headings as is evident here. The page on view includes verses from two chapters, al-Nazi`at (Those Who Drag Forth) and Abasa (He Frowned) that occur towards the end of the Koran. The first warns against the coming of the Day of Judgment, while the second cautions against judging people by their appearance.

Folio from a Koran
Page from a Koran
Sura 79, verses 40-46; sura 80, verses 1-19
Egypt, mid-14th century
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
41 x 31.8 cm
Purchase F1930.59

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