Case study of layout, script and decorative arrays in the opening pages of Safavid and Qajar Qurans available in two collections of Astan Quds Razavi Library and the Library of Parliament

Document Type : تاریخ هنر خراسان بزرگ


Book layout is an important pillar of the Iranian-Islamic culture, which constitutes a basis for innovations and developments in scribing and decorating Quranic manuscripts. Two collections of Astan Quds Razavi and Library of Parliament preserve exquisite Quranic manuscripts belonging to the Islamic period, which possess special artistic and aesthetic principles along with great spiritual value. This study aims to identify the features of layout, script and decorative arrays in the opening pages of the Qurans in Safavid and Qajar eras in the mentioned collections. This paper seeks to find answers regarding the method of layout, script and illumination of Safavid and Qajar Qurans and also their similarities and differences. To this end, a qualitative approach using a descriptive-analytical method was applied while examining library documents and observing the codices.
According to research findings, in the division of the opening pages of the Qajar Qurans, epigraph inscription has been abundantly used and a special place was granted to decoration in these pages. Naskhi has become the common script to write Qurans and other scripts including Sols and Riqa’ have been used in top and bottom inscriptions. Innovative compositions and proper application of arabesque and khataei show the development of illumination in the Safavid period and natural designs and underrepresentation of arabesque became a feature of illumination in the Qajar era, which is attributed to the influence of west on the Iranian art. Safavid illuminators added to the beauty of pages by combining arabesque and khataei designs with each other and using other colors like azure and golden. In the Qajar period, in addition to the aforesaid designs, Shah Abbasi flowers and vermilion color decorated a major part of the space. Scribes and illuminators of tenth to fourteenth centuries AH applied combinations of form and color thanks to their sublime wisdom so that the opening pages can represent the beauty of the Word of God and invitation to it for the readers.