The Most Famous Works Of Islamic Calligraphy
Each sura’s verses are demarcated in groups of 20 with silver rosettes and the text itself is inked in gold; the precious metallic text and rich indigo might have been a way for the Fatimid dynasty, which controlled North Africa at the time, to display its wealth, power, and religion in the face of the Byzantine Empire, which controlled Anatolia and used gold or silver ink on purple parchment for its most lavish manuscripts. The gold ink was created by grinding gold and suspending it in a solution. The surrounding decoration of the mihrab of the Great Mosque of Cordoba is similar to and might have been the model for the Blue Qur’an’s design.
Given the brilliance of the color, it is likely that the parchment was dip-dyed before it was cured, impregnating it with the pigment.
The Kufic script has sharp angles and is written in groups of 15 lines per page with no vowel markings, common characteristics in 9th and 10th-century Islamic manuscripts. The comparatively large number of lines on each page deviates from the norm of other contemporaneous Qur’ans. A column of letters is perceptible on the right side of each folio, created by the insertion of spaces called caesurae that put single letters at the beginnings of lines. Words with unconnected letters are occasionally split between lines in the manuscript. The spacing of the letters has been described as “almost musical” and as “visual rhythm” by Robert Hillenbrand. Another unusual feature of this manuscript is visible mastara lines on some pages, used by the calligrapher to place the text.