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Monday, September 26, 2016 - 5:15pm

Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Class of 1978 Pavilion Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania

"On the Biography of One Manuscript: A 12th c. Qur'an Copy in the Penn Museum Collections"

Renata Holod, University of Pennsylvania

This presentation will discuss the project of studying one manuscript in the UPMAA collections, Penn Museum NEP27. Its finispiece states that the volume was copied and gilded in Hamadhan, Iran by the scribe (al-kātib) Mahmūd ibn al-Husayn al-Kirmānī in H559/1164 CE. Between the time of its copying and the time of its donation as a pious foundation (waqf) by Amīr Ahmad Jāwīsh (d. 1786) to al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, the manuscript underwent many changes and vicissitudes, including corrections to a different reading(s) of the text, complex repairs of the front matter, rebinding, etc.

This project has been able to study many, if not all, aspects of this book, a Qur'an copy: from its paper(s), ink(s) and pigments to its mise-en-page, paleography, verse markers and heading design, and interlinear commentary(ies). Within the context of the study of Qur’an manuscripts, scrutinizing certain features typically deemed as supplementary to the sacred words (such as repairs or interlinear gloss) can contribute more broadly to the question of how any Qur’an copy was encountered, engaged with, and staged as a text over time, a subject that certainly merits further research.

Sponsored by: Workshop in the History of Material Texts, Penn