StorageSiteUCL Special Collections
Reference Number MS MOCATTA/20
TitleQur'an fragment
Date14th-15th century?
DescriptionShort fragment written in the Muhaqqaq script, one of the six main types of calligraphic script in Arabic. The Arabic word muhaqqaq means ‘consummate’ or ‘clear’, and originally was used to denote any accomplished piece of calligraphy. Often used to copy masahif (singular mushaf), meaning loose sheets of Qur’an texts, this majestic type of script was considered one of the most beautiful, as well as one of the most difficult to execute well. The script saw its greatest use in the Mameluk era (1250–1516/1517). The fragment contains part of the 19th section of the Qur’an and may date from the late Mameluk period in the 14th and 15th centuries; the style is typical for the time and place. Small roundels mark the end of the verse, and larger ones occur at the end of every fifth verse, the largest at every tenth verse. The fragment covers Sura [chapter] xxv, verse 23 to the beginning of verse 63, with the text beginning on folio 1 verso; it has a decorative first opening, and the bottom border states that it is part 19 of 30. The name Abu Sa’id can just be recognised from a partially erased note on folio 1 recto – possibly the name of the patron who commissioned the work, or the person to whom it was originally donated.
Extent1 volume containing 8 folios
CustodialHistoryThere is a partially erased Arabic inscription on the first page: the name Abu Sa'id can be read. From the library of Frederic David Mocatta, deposited in 1905 by the Jewish Historical Society. Formerly held with other Jewish collections in the Mocatta Library of University College London.
AcquisitionTransferred from the Mocatta Library (subsequently the Jewish Studies Library) of University College London.
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.
FindingAidsReginald Arthur Rye, 'Catalogue of the Printed Books and Manuscripts forming the library of F D Mocatta' (Harrison and Sons, London, 1904), 382.
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