The selection consists of Qur’ans, illustrated Islamic manuscripts and scientific and religious manuscripts. All are handsomely illustrated and fully discussed. The manuscripts are from all parts of the Islamic world and represent the finest achievements of the form. More
Pages of the Qur’an: The Lygo Collection
Paperback, 294 x 240 mm 132 pages, 80 colour illus.
During the period represented by this outstanding collection, the scripts and formats used for copying and illuminating the Holy Word multiplied and developed – visual testimony to the extraordinary exchange of ideas that took place under the ’Abbasid dynasty, which stretched at its height from the Atlantic to the borders of China.
The consistent esteem in which the art of the calligrapher was held across the Islamic world reflected the status of the Qur’an as the unmediated word of Allah and its centrality to the notions of Islamic culture and identity. As the most continuously copied text in the Islamic world the Qur’an is one of the best prisms through which to view changes in calligraphy and manuscript production – a survey of which is given in an introductory essay. Accompanying beautiful reproductions of each of the 73 objects in the collection are detailed descriptions in which the characteristics of the script and design as well as the history of each manuscript is considered.
Important early examples in the Lygo Collection include a folio from a famous late 8th-century Qur’an written entirely in gold Kufic script, every page of which is framed by an illuminated border, and a leaf from the Blue Qur’an – one of the most famous and luxurious Kufic Qur’an manuscripts, written in gold on blue parchment, dating to the 9th or 10th century.
The pre-eminence of the early Kufic scripts was challenged in the 11th century by various cursive scripts and there was a concurrent change from papyrus to paper and from a landscape to an upright format for many copies of the Qur’an. A highly decorated leaf in the Lygo collection is from an 11th- or 12th-century manuscript considered to be one of the masterpieces of Qur’anic calligraphy and illumination and is thought to have stretched over 2,250 leaves in total.
New heights in calligraphy and illumination were reached under Mongol rule – a period of artistic brilliance and innovation – and the monumentality in Qur’an production by the Mamluk and Timurid dynasties can be seen as an artistic response to the Mongol challenge. A large fragment in the Lygo collection comes from a magnificent Qur’an of extraordinary dimensions thought to be made for Timur, the founder of the Timurid empire.
Produced for the Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, this book traces the development of the early Ottoman style under influence from their neighbours; the impact of the patronage of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror; and the development of the ‘classical’ style under his successor Bayezid II. A catalogue section provides beautiful illustrations of 41 masterpieces of bookbinding; with technical appendices, bibliography, concordance and index. More
Illuminator, painter, scribe, clerk, teacher, doctor of theology, restorer and binder, Mesrop was one of the greatest Armenian artists of his and following generations. He was prolific, working for at least forty-two years in Sos (New Julfa) from 1608 to 1651. This book will be the first serious study of the 46 of his manuscripts that have survived. The focus of the book, however, is The Four Gospels, one of the few manuscripts painted entirely by Mesrop’s hand and one of the most extensively illuminated in his oeuvre. More
Given the status of the Qur‘an as the eternal and uncreated word of Allah, the art of the pen became the focus of an extraordinary energy in the Muslim world. Ink and Gold charts the development of Islamic calligraphy – the noblest, most stylized and original of the Islamic arts – over a period of some 1200 years, from its beginnings in the Arabian Peninsula. More
Amorous Delight: The Amarushataka Palm-Leaf Manuscript. Illustrated by the Master of Sharanakula in the 19th Century (Orissa, India)
Around 1800, an anonymous engraver in Sharanakula, a small temple place on the southern coast of Orissa, illustrated a palm-leaf anthology of love poems. The one hundred Sanskrit quatrains, which are said to be the work of the 7th-century poet Amaru, describe the behaviour of enamoured couples, their longing for each other, the lovers’ anxieties, their ecstatic joy as well as their doubts and sorrows. More