Calligraphy, Colour and Light in the Blue Qur'an

Alain George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The Blue Qur'an is one of the most mesmerising manuscripts produced in Islam. Today, the most commonly held view is that this manuscript was produced for the early Fāimid court, before the conquest of Egypt in 358/969. However, in recent years our knowledge of early Qur'anic manuscripts, their calligraphy and the illumination that adorns their pages has greatly progressed. In the first part of this article, I will argue that the Blue Qur'an is in fact much earlier than has hitherto been recognised and dates to the early ʿAbbāsid period. This will be the occasion to posit some elements of chronology for early Qur'anic scripts. Once this new framework has been set for the manuscript, I will move on to explore the origin of its colour scheme, and its different layers of meaning; between the practical, the temporal and the spiritual.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-125
Number of pages51
JournalJournal of Qur’anic Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


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