This lavishly illuminated royal Qur’an was commissioned by the Ilkhanid Sultan, Uljaytu (r. 1304–1317). The calligrapher was ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Husayni.
Who was Sultan Uljaytu?
The commissioning certificate of this Qur’an traces Sultan Uljaytu’s ancestry back to Hülagü and Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan’s grandson Hülagü led a series of Mongol invasions into the Middle East in the 13th century, assuming the title ‘Il Khan’ (‘Lesser Khan’). For a century after taking Baghdad in the 1250s, the Ilkhanids ruled over Iraq, the Caucasus, parts of Asia Minor and all of Iran. Baghdad was a major centre of activity. The arts, especially lavish illumination of holy texts such as this, flourished during the period.
What characterises this Qur'an?
The opening pages contain the text in a central panel within a rectangular frame, written in gold muhaqqaq script with vowel signs in black ink. In a large format, even by the standards of grand imperial Qur’ans of the time, it must have involved an enormous investment of high-quality materials, time and money. Inscriptions in the Qur’an record that it is a thirty-volume Qur’an. This is one of the few complete parts of this multi-volume set to have survived intact.
View the entire manuscript via our Digitised manuscripts website.