This finely illuminated Qur’an manuscript comes from Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra, in present-day Indonesia. It is of particular interest as it has its original cloth binding with decorative paper cut-outs, as well as an outer leather wrapper.
How old is this manuscript?
Qur’an manuscripts from Aceh rarely contain information on where or when the book was written, or by whom. However this Qur’an is written on English paper watermarked ‘J Whatman 1819’, suggesting that the manuscript was probably copied in the 1820s.
Where does it come from?
The origin of this Qur’an can be identified from its distinctive decorated frames, which are typical examples of Acehnese illumination, with extended vertical borders, arches on the three outer sides of the text panels, and a palette of red, yellow, black and white. The most important colour in Acehnese manuscripts is ‘reserved white’, which is not a pigment but the background colour of the paper which shows through the design. As in many fine Southeast Asian Qur’an manuscripts, double decorated frames are located at the beginning and end of the Holy Book, and in the middle. All other pages are relatively plain, albeit carefully written and set within ruled frames.
View images of the entire manuscripts via our Digitised Manuscripts website.