Skip Navigation

Islam Tradition in Transition

Qur'an. Iran or Afghanistan, 11th–12th century. NYPL, Manuscripts and Archives Division.

During the 10th century, paper began to replace vellum as the support for the Qur'an. This paper copy from eastern Iran or Afghanistan probably dates to the late 11th or early 12th century. The script in which it was written came into use by the late 10th century in western Iran and Iraq; in eastern Iran and Afghanistan variants of it remained popular into the 12th century. This mannered version creates formal patterns by contrasting the baseline of the script with densely clustered vertical letters and the attenuated curves of the sublinear ones. This manuscript's use of red dots to indicate vowels is an archaic feature, but nevertheless, the Qur'an's text is fully vocalized. It contains the tenth section of a 30-part Qur'an (9:41–10:95).