The Triumph of Holiness and Beauty: The Qur’ans of Daghestan
5 June 2009, in the Caucasus Rooms (Rooms
The collection itself began to form starting from the middle of the 1950s,
when the battle against religion subsided to a certain degree, giving
way to the understanding of the great importance of the Islamic manuscripts
for the studies of history, literature and culture. Unfortunately, a lot
of manuscripts were destroyed during the period
The holy book of the Muslims, the Qur’an, occupies a leading place, since both the Muslim theology and the Muslim law have origins in the Qur’an. Calligraphy is one of the instruments of daavat, the preaching tradition of the Muslims. The rewriting of the Qur’an was considered to be a holy deed, and the art of calligraphy was placed higher than the pictorial art.
The Qur’ans were rewritten with different handwriting styles, and the names of different Suras (chapters) as well as the margins were decorated by rich ornaments. Before XIII century the Qur’ans were often rewritten with the angular Kufic script, the examples of which can be seen at the exhibition. Starting from XIV century the most common scripts for the Qur’an rewriting were Naskh, Muhakkak and Suls scripts.
The earliest Qur’an manuscript at the exhibition is a fragment
by an unknown calligrapher Muhammad, ibn of Husein
ibn Muhammad, completed on Friday 11th, in the month
of Rabi II 400 AH (December 2nd, 1009).
One of the most interesting manuscripts in terms of the artistic form is a part
of the Qur’an written in Naskh and Suls by the calligrapher
Muhammad, ibn Muhammad, ibn Ahmad, grandson
Most Qur’ans presented at the exhibition were allegedly rewritten and decorated
with ornaments in different settlements of Daghestan during
The curator of the exhibition is Anatoly Ivanov, lead researcher of the Oriental
Department of the State Hermitage, Candidate of Science in History.