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The visual resonances of a Harari Qur’ān: An 18th century Ethiopian manuscript and its Indian Ocean connections

Résonances visuelles d’un coran harari : un manuscrit éthiopien du XVIIIe siècle et ses connections avec l’océan Indien
Sana Mirza

Résumés

Même s’il n’est pas largement reconnu comme étant d’origine harari, le Coran manuscrit de la collection Khalili (QUR706) à Londres nous offre l’opportunité de considérer les circulations et les échanges artistiques longue distance dans l’océan Indien depuis la période médiévale. Daté de 1162/1749, le coran Khalili peut être mis en relation avec des manuscrits de la période mamlouke et de l’époque précédente en Inde par ses enluminures et le choix de l’écriture biḥārī, rarement vu en dehors d’Inde. Des inscriptions plus récentes dans le manuscrit témoignent de son transfert à Zanzibar. Ce que le manuscrit reflète visuellement d'échanges transrégionaux et sa circulation ultérieure soulignent le rôle de Harar en tant que centre artistique non seulement dans cette région d’Éthiopie, mais aussi dans la Corne de l’Afrique et dans l’océan Indien de manière plus large. À partir du coran Khalili, cette étude examine la place de Harar dans les réseaux de circulation et d’échange artistique et le rôle de ces derniers dans la formation d’un langage visuel Harari dans le contexte de la globalisation croissante de l'Éthiopie du XVIIIe siècle.

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  • 1 This paper was originally presented at the workshop “Christian and Islamic Manuscripts of Ethiopia” (...)
  • 2 For example, see J. McKenzie, F. Watson, 2016; M. Heldman, S.C. Munro-Hay, 1993; M.J. Ramos, 2004, (...)
  • 3 In addition to the resonances of early Christian, Byzantine, and Coptic artistic forms, “Islamic” m (...)

1At the confluence of networks stretching across the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean, Ethiopia’s Christian pictorial tradition has long been examined for its engagement within this cosmopolitan milieu.1 From a shared Late Antique heritage to the arrival of the Jesuits, scholars have considered the role of foreign models, artisans, and objects in the creation of a distinctive Ethiopian artistic repertoire.2 Muslim craftsmen, merchants, and states played a vital role within these circuits of artistic exchange; nonetheless, the illuminations of Ethiopia’s Islamic manuscripts are rarely mentioned, nor have they been recognized for their potential to elucidate Ethiopia’s engagement within these long-distance networks.3 Helping to address this imbalance, a Qur’ān manuscript in the Khalili Collection in London provides striking testimony to the complex artistic networks that connected East Africa, Egypt, Arabia, and India (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on šawwāl 1162/September or October 1749, copied by ḥāğğ Sa‘d ibn Adish Umar Din

Figure 1: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on šawwāl 1162/September or October 1749, copied by ḥāğğ Sa‘d ibn Adish Umar Din

32.5 x 22.5 cm, Khalili Collection, QUR706.

Photograph courtesy Khalili Collection.

  • 4 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 25-31.
  • 5 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 25.
  • 6 I am currently working on a doctoral dissertation that will attempt to trace the history of the pro (...)

2Materializing the globalized artistic relationships of the 18th century, this Qur’ān codex utilizes European laid paper, as well as a distinct calligraphic script and page layout highly reminiscent of earlier Indian Qur’ān manuscripts. Furthermore, it contains the names of three later owners, providing evidence for its mobility within East Africa and its ultimate arrival in Zanzibar by 1839, almost a full century after its completion.4 Whereas the Khalili Qur’ān can be securely dated to 1749, the colophon does not name its place of production. In 1999, Tim Stanley associated the codex with the artistic milieus of the Swahili coast due to its visual hybridity and later sale to a merchant in Zanzibar.5 However, due to the stylistic dissimilarities between the manuscript and others securely attributed to the region, he opened the possibility that the Khalili Qur’ān could have been produced elsewhere in East Africa. In the subsequent two decades, the outstanding and astonishing breadth of the manuscript culture of Harar (present-day eastern Ethiopia) has come to light, revealing numerous parallels with the design, calligraphy, and format of the Khalili Qur’ān. The similarities between the Khalili manuscript and those produced in Harar suggest a new provenance for the manuscript, one rooted in the Horn of Africa.6

3Through an analysis of its decorative program, this essay will focus on the Khalili Qur’ān as a convenient point of entry into the manuscript culture of mid-18th century Harar. I will first situate the Khalili codex within the frame of Harar and the large corpus of manuscripts produced in the city, before considering its trans-regional resonances, particularly its illuminations and calligraphy. These resonances provide an opportunity to begin to explore the position of Harar within long-distance artistic networks stretching from Egypt to India and their role in the stylistic development of Qur’ān manuscripts (muṣḥaf, pl. maṣāḥif) within the city.

Harar: The Muslim city of Ethiopia

  • 7 P. Revault, 2004, p. 16.
  • 8 F. Fauvelle-Aymar, B. Hirsch, 2010, p. 43. In the absence of historical texts, Fauvelle-Aymar and H (...)
  • 9 R. Loimeier, 2013, p. 187. For a detailed history of Harar, see E. Cerulli, 1936, p. 1-55.

4On a plateau overlooking deep gorges, savannahs, and deserts, Harar was strategically situated between the coastal lowlands and highlands of modern Ethiopia and Somalia, an essential economic hub linking the Red Sea and central Ethiopia.7 Its development can be located within a long history of Islam in eastern Ethiopia. By the 14th century, the main axis of Islamicization in Ethiopia moved from the Red Sea port city of Zayla westward to the plateau of Harar as sedentary and agricultural town-dwelling populations adopted Islam.8 The city’s particular distinction arose in 1215 when, according to tradition, Šayḫ‘Abādīr ‘Umar al-Riḍā arrived from Mecca with 405 of his disciples, elevating the city into an important regional religious center with numerous shrines and mosques. Subsequently, Harar became a destination for pilgrimage and Islamic learning, a sacred city within the larger Muslim emirates of eastern Ethiopia.9

  • 10 R. Loimeier, 2013, p. 186. Leading a multinational coalition that included Indian, Omani, Hadrami, (...)
  • 11 P. Revault, 2004, p. 15; L. Kapteijns, 2012, p. 232.
  • 12 The oldest Arabic manuscript in the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (hereafter IES) collection in Ad (...)
  • 13 A. Gori, 2015, p. 285-288.
  • 14 See A.J. Drewes, 1983.

5In the first half of the 16th century, Harar emerged at the heart of a major, but short-lived, movement of Islamicization and expansion led by Harari Imam Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm al-Ġāzī, known as Grāñ (1506–1543).10 After his death and the disintegration of the Adal Sultanate (1415–1577), Harar remained an important site of commerce and learning and, by the 17th century, reemerged as an independent emirate (1647–1875), a period which coincides with a moment of major manuscript production.11 The manuscripts include hundreds of Qur’ān manuscripts as well as religious commentaries, legal treatises, astrological works, prayer books, and praises of the Prophet Muhammad in Arabic and the ‘ağamī Harari. Research is ongoing on these extraordinarily rich manuscripts, but our knowledge of the period is nascent. It is possible that a book culture existed in Harar before the emirate, or, alternatively, that the few 16th-century manuscripts identified so far were produced elsewhere and brought to Harar.12 Maṣāḥif were often endowed (waqf), dedicated for the spiritual reward of deceased family members and important personages. In some cases, it is clear manuscripts were kept within homes but were then taken to tombs and cemeteries to be read from on a regular basis.13 Others were given to mosques and the religious schools of the city. Scholars and amirs were also known for their private libraries.14

  • 15 The IES collection has been catalogued by Alessandro Gori and Anne Regourd, who are also working to (...)

6Now scattered across collections in Africa, Europe, and the United States, the largest collections are preserved within the library of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University, and the Sharif Harar Museum, though numerous codices remain in other museums and religious institutions within Harar as well as in private family collections.15 Completed in 1749, the Khalili Qur’ān would have been produced in the middle of this period of intensive manuscript production.

The Khalili East African Qur’ān (QUR706)

  • 16 There are no watermarks within the manuscript. My thanks to Nahla Nasser and the Khalili collection (...)
  • 17 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 26. The colophon is located on folio 283b and is published, along with the oth (...)

7Known as QUR706, the Khalili manuscript is a single-volume Qur’ān of 290 folios of slightly burnished, cream European laid paper, each measuring 32.5 x 22.5 cm.16 The binding is not original but was likely added in the 20th century. The colophon dates the muṣḥaf to šawwāl 1162 hiğrī, corresponding to September or October of 1749, and names the scribe as ḥāğğ Sa‘d b. ‘Adiš ‘Umar Din. Stanley describes this name as not typically Persian or Arab, but rather as potentially East African.17 The title “ḥāğğ” indicates that Sa‘d had completed a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. In the body of the manuscript, each page displays fifteen lines of Qur’ānic text framed by a triple rule-border. The first and last written lines were penned in a larger format, and yellow or red ogival ornaments mark the end of each verse (āya, pl. āyāt) (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: Folio 135b-136a, Qur’ān manuscript

Figure 2: Folio 135b-136a, Qur’ān manuscript

Khalili Collection, QUR706.

Photograph courtesy Khalili Collection.

  • 18 I have yet to find other works by this scholar, but this text is repeated in numerous Harari Qur’ān (...)
  • 19 A major 12th century Andalusian authority on Qur’ān recitation, al-Šāṭibī is particularly known for (...)

8In the margins, the thirty sections of the Qur’ān (ğuz’, pl. ağzā’) are specified with palmettes, whereas red inscriptions indicate the sixtieth divisions (ḥizb). Preceding the Qur’ānic text, folios 1b to 7a contain three texts, which extol the virtues of the Qur’ān and provide an overview of recitation principles. In the first text, the scribe states that he will extensively quote from the work of Muḥammad b. ‘Umar Šu‘ān, as well as from other scholarship, in order to illustrate the importance of the Qur’ān.18 The second text presents the system of orthography canonized by ‘Abd al-Qāsim b. Firruh al-Šāṭibī.19 The short third text also contains grammatical and orthographic information to guide in the recitation of the Qur’ān.

  • 20 These verses can be translated as “We have given you the seven oft-recited verses and the whole glo (...)
  • 21 These verses both identify the text that follows, but also instruct and condition how one should ap (...)

9Following these texts, the only illuminated pages within the muṣḥaf presents in roundels the first chapter, Sūrat al-Fātiḥa, and the first five verses of the second chapter, Sūrat al-Baqara (Fig. 1). The double-page composition consists of a central panel of illumination framed by borders of three lines of gray, gold, and red, and divided internally into two main sections. The upper portions provide the chapter title, along with alternative chapter titles, and an explanation of the different systems for counting the verses of the chapter, or sūra, below. The lower portion of each panel contains the Qur’ānic text, enclosed within two broad concentric frames set against a black-ground square with red and white corner flourishes. Above and below this central square are rectangular bands bearing quotations from the Qur’ān in a larger script; these include verses from Sūrat al-Ḥiğr (15:87), Sūrat al-Šuʽarā’ (26:192-93), and Sūrat al-Wāqi’a (56: 77-80).20 These verses, which mention that only those in a state of purity should touch the book, were used regularly on bindings and frontispieces of Qur’āns since the 13th century.21 The marginal glosses, which continue throughout the manuscript, reflect different readings, as well as sayings of the Prophet in a red and black script similar to nasḫ.

The Khalili Qur’ān: Following a Harari tradition

  • 22 I have been told that there are manuscripts very similar to QUR706 within the library of the Jami M (...)
  • 23 I encountered this manuscript through the kind facilitation of Ahmed Zakaria and Abdullah Ali.

10The Khalili Qur’ān finds many parallels with over 25 Qur’ān manuscripts known to have been produced in Harar; these include its dimensions and paper, supplementary texts, and distinctive opening page designs.22 In fact, seen alongside these other manuscripts, the Khalili Qur’ān emerges as representative of a distinctive subtype of Harari maṣāḥif, codices that combine the Qur’ānic text with supplementary texts and marginal glosses. Whereas the earliest known dated muṣḥaf from Harar was completed in 1100/1689, only one annotated Qur’ān manuscript pre-dates the Khalili Qur’ān. Now in a private family collection, it was completed in 1143/1731 (Fig. 3).23

Figure 3: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on ša‘bān 1143/ February 1731

Figure 3: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on ša‘bān 1143/ February 1731

31.5 x 21.5 cm, private collection.

Photograph courtesy the author.

11The next dated annotated Qur’ān manuscript, found in the Sharif Harar Museum, was completed in 1180/1767 (Fig. 4).

Figure 4: Opening page, Qur’ān manuscript, completed ḏū al-qa’da 1180/ March 1767, copied by ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. al-amīr Hāšim

Figure 4: Opening page, Qur’ān manuscript, completed ḏū al-qa’da 1180/ March 1767, copied by ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. al-amīr Hāšim

Sharif Harar Museum.

Photograph courtesy Finbarr Barry Flood.

  • 24 T. Stanley, 2004, p. 56-63; F. Déroche, 2000, p. 106-109. The influence of these forms was felt as (...)

12These three manuscripts display a remarkable degree of uniformity: they share a basic two-fold opening page and color palette, as well as the same additional preceding texts on recitation. However, their illuminators—who may have also been the scribes—have created very different compositions, as will be discussed below. Furthermore, neither the Khalili Qur’ān nor these two early examples follow the highly standardized conventions of 18th-century Qur’ān manuscripts produced under the Ottomans, the dominant political power within the Red Sea region.24 As described by Tim Stanley and François Déroche, by the 18th century these Qur’ān manuscripts were standardized in their use of Ottoman nasḫ, as well as strict rules dictating page layout and illumination, characteristics that are visible in Qur’ān manuscripts produced across the Ottoman Empire. While some Harari manuscripts, particularly in the 19th century, follow these Ottoman copies more closely, the Khalili manuscript does not. This compels a consideration of the models available to Harari artisans, their roots, and the artistic processes that informed the development of the Khalili Qur’ān manuscript.

  • 25 This opening page composition, albeit simplified, is seen as early as 1100/1689 in AAShC 6 in the S (...)

13There are precedents for the lower portion of the Khalili Qur’ān’s illuminated panels among the frontispieces of late 17th- and early 18th-century maṣāḥif from Harar that do not contain recitation material. These older Harari models are typified by the opening pages of a Qur’ān manuscript from the Sharif Harar Museum (AAShC 218), completed in 1120/1708 by ḥāğğ Ḫalīf b. Kabīr Ḥāmid (Fig. 5).25

Figure 5: Opening page, Qur’ān manuscript, completed in 1120/1708 by ḥāğğ Ḫalīf b. Kabīr Ḥāmid

Figure 5: Opening page, Qur’ān manuscript, completed in 1120/1708 by ḥāğğ Ḫalīf b. Kabīr Ḥāmid

Sharif Harar Municipal Museum, AAShC 218.

Photograph courtesy the author.

14Within this manuscript, the decorative pages are also arranged around a circular text block with concentric frames, further enclosed within a square panel with two flanking narrow vertical bands bearing a white twisted rope motif. Of the two rectangular registers of larger script, the lower ones contain the same quote from Sūrat al-Wāqi’a as the Khalili Qur’ān, whereas the upper ones bear the title of the sūra, its place of revelation, and the number of verses within it. Both Qur’ān manuscripts utilize a color palette dominated by red, yellow, and black and use white space as well as monochrome borders to create distinct registers, techniques seen widely in Harari Qur’ān manuscripts. However, there are notable differences between the two compositions, including the use of different ornamental motifs, additional panels of white vegetal scrolls, and the incorporation of adjoining medallions bearing palmettes in the composition of the 1708 manuscript, as well as the lack of recitation guides. Nonetheless, it appears that the Khalili Qur’ān’s decorative program follows the artistic traditions manifest in this earlier Qur’ān manuscript from Harar.

A Mamluk heritage? Archaism and early Harari Qur’ān manuscripts

15Within the earliest decorated Qur’ān manuscripts from Harar, there was a distinct preference for concentric borders that frame a central circular text block. In the manuscript traditions of the Ottomans, as well as of the Safavids and Qajars of Iran, circular text blocks for the opening pages of Qur’ān manuscripts are not seen regularly until the 19th century, though some examples occur and many collections that may contain examples remain unpublished. A closer comparison is found instead in the tripartite spatial arrangement seen in the colophons of codices produced under the Mamluk dynasty that ruled Egypt, Syria, and the Hijaz between 1250 and 1517, before its conquest by the Ottomans. In the colophon of a Qur’ān manuscript produced for the library of Sultan al-Nāṣir Muḥammad in the late 13th or early 14th century, for example, the composition is formed by two rectangular text-bearing panels separated by a circular text panel set within a square frame (Fig. 6). The interlacing strapwork bands create a sense of depth; rather than centered within the central register, the circular panel appears to jut out from it, not wholly unlike the overlapping circular borders in the Khalili manuscript. The similarities of the layout and decorative devices suggest the need to consider the models from Egypt available to Harari artisans.

Figure 6: Colophon pages, Qur’ān manuscript made for the library of al-Nāṣir Muḥammad (r. 1294–1313), copied by Šādhī b. Muḥammad (d. 1342), Mamluk Egypt

Figure 6: Colophon pages, Qur’ān manuscript made for the library of al-Nāṣir Muḥammad (r. 1294–1313), copied by Šādhī b. Muḥammad (d. 1342), Mamluk Egypt

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, TIEM 450 (after James, Qur’ans of the Mamluks, p. 60-61).

  • 26 D. James, 1999, p. 19.

16The parallels between Mamluk and Harari manuscripts are subtle, embedded within their decorative languages. Mamluk Qur’ān manuscripts commonly open to elaborate frontispieces bearing the same verses from Sūrat al-Wāqi’a (56: 77-80) and Sūrat al-Burūğ (85: 21-22). Often penned in decorative scripts, the verses were placed in rectangular bands running the length of the illumination panel and written in black or white, which would be thickly outlined with gold.26 The Khalili Qur’ān also uses rectangular bands to enclose and emphasize these verses—which are outlined in yellow, a way to imitate the gold without using the costly material.

17Additionally, Mamluk illuminated compositions are strongly centripetal. In a Mamluk finispiece of the mid-14th century in the collection of the Freer Gallery of Art, the modulation of color and ornament creates the illusion of a circle framed within a square, the same basic components as the lower panel of the Khalili Qur’ān composition. Furthermore, the frames are made visually distinct through the use of three different kinds of ornament, as well as by the white bands that further separate them (Fig. 7).

Figure 7: Finispiece of a Qur’ān manuscript, Mamluk Egypt, mid-14th century

Figure 7: Finispiece of a Qur’ān manuscript, Mamluk Egypt, mid-14th century

Freer Gallery of Art, F1930.55.1–2.

Photograph courtesy Freer|Sackler.

18Mamluk illuminators commonly alternated geometric and vegetal ornaments of gilded and painted borders, creating not only an illusion of different textures but also distinct borders. Rather than juxtaposing different types of ornament, the borders of the Khalili Qur’ān utilize different colors for each border; but here, too, there are three differentiated borders separated by thin bands left in reserve. In a way, despite the chronological disjunction, the Khalili Qur’ān contains the most salient features and decorative vocabulary of different Mamluk compositions and decorative elements in order to create a new composition for its opening pages.

  • 27 S. Stetkevych, 2010, p. 70.

19Other features of these early Harari manuscripts suggest Mamluk models, such as the form of their decorative chapter headings, concentric marginal medallions, and frontispiece formats. Most of the 18th-century Harari maṣāḥif utilize marginal ornament or decorated sūra headings that are easily comparable to those of Mamluk Qur’āns. Another likely reflection of a shared artistic repertoire, it is possible to see a formal kinship between the spatial arrangement and central polylobed design of a Mamluk frontispiece to a Book of Confessions and that of an undated al-Kawākib al-durriya (The Pearly Stars) manuscript from Harar (Fig. 8). The text is an 13th-century Egyptian poetic eulogy by al-Būīrī about the Prophet’s robe, to which both talismanic and therapeutic properties were ascribed, a eulogy which circulated widely in the early modern Islamic world.27

Figure 8: Left: Frontispiece from Book of Confessions, Egypt, Mamluk period, ca. 1460, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S1986.29. Right: Frontispiece, al-Kawākib al-durriya, known as Qaṣīda al-burda (Poem of the Mantle), Sharif Harar Museum.

Figure 8: Left: Frontispiece from Book of Confessions, Egypt, Mamluk period, ca. 1460, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S1986.29. Right: Frontispiece, al-Kawākib al-durriya, known as Qaṣīda al-burda (Poem of the Mantle), Sharif Harar Museum.

Left: Photograph courtesy Freer|Sackler. Right: Photograph courtesy the author.

  • 28 J.L. Meloy, 2003, p. 1.
  • 29 T. Bittar, 2012, p. 317-321. Bittar also mentions that two Yemeni salvers, in addition to Mamluk me (...)
  • 30 M. Heldman, 2007, p. 84-105; D. Behrens-Abouseif, 2014, p. 49-52. Behrens-Abouseif provides a short (...)
  • 31 For more details, see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_589582_en.html (accessed 30 June (...)
  • 32 A. Zekaria, 1991, p. 24.
  • 33 F. Fauvelle-Aymar, B. Hirsch, 2010, p. 43.

20These similarities between the Mamluk and Harari manuscripts may not be surprising given the extent of Mamluk political and mercantile interests in the Red Sea before their overthrow by the Ottomans in 1517.28 Attesting to the circulation of portable objects between the two regions, Mamluk metalwork from the 12th15th centuries appears within the treasuries of medieval Ethiopian churches and monasteries, likely arriving during the 14th and 15th centuries.29 Additionally, the close relationship between Coptic and Ethiopian churches until 1959 created another potential avenue for the diffusion of Mamluk manuscripts and compositional styles to Ethiopia.30 Closer to Harar, recent excavations in Harlaa have revealed gold and silver coins from 13th-century Egypt.31 In fact, until the 20th century, Harari coins were referred to using Mamluk—not Ottoman—terminology.32 Greater Mamluk interest in the Red Sea had led to rise of the port city of Zayla as the main axis of Islamicization in Ethiopia by the 14th century, setting the stage for the circulation of artistic forms within the Red Sea region.33

  • 34 D. Behrens-Abouseif, 2013, p. 308, 312, 319-20.
  • 35 D. James, 1992a, p. 88, 239. An example of this is a folio in the Khalili Collection, QUR 627, whic (...)
  • 36 For an in-depth study on the multiple lives of Qur’ān manuscripts and endowment traditions, see M.  (...)
  • 37 D. James, 2007, p. 10. A testament to the distances manuscripts could travel, it is now located in (...)
  • 38 D. James, 1992a, p. 160. The folio (QUR 850) was likely produced in Yemen, ca. 13001350.
  • 39 D. James, 1992a, p. 52.
  • 40 A. Regourd, 2014, p. xlix, lxix.

21In considering the long chronological divide between the date of the last Mamluk manuscripts and the earliest Harari Qur’ans, it is also important to mention the possibility of intermediaries and mediation between multiple centers of manuscript production. Mamluk styles continued into the early Ottoman period, particularly in Egypt.34 Early Ottoman Qur’ān manuscripts were themselves a characteristic mixture of Mamluk and Timurid styles.35 Manuscripts, particularly maṣāḥif, remained in use for centuries, often gifted or dedicated to mosques, tombs, and schools where they would have been used rather than kept in treasuries.36 However, another important avenue for the circulation and transmission of manuscript styles is rooted within the relationship between Ethiopia, Yemen, and Arabia. Vassals of the Mamluks, the Rasulids (r. 1229–1454) of Yemen were active participants within the Mamluk court and patrons of artisans. For instance, ‘Abd al-Raḥman ibn Ibrāhīm al-Āmidi, the son of one of the most famous Mamluk illuminators, produced a copy of al-Kawākib al-durriyya in the court of Ṣana‘ā’ in 798/1398.37 Another reflection of these relationships, a rare folio linked to the Rasulid court also in the Khalili collection, displays “superficial Mamluk features”; but again the relationship with the layout of Harari maṣāḥif is clear.38 Perhaps speaking to the larger role of Yemen as an intermediary, the colophon of a 15th-century Yemeni Jewish codex now at the British Library (Fig. 9) is very similar in design to the previously mentioned Mamluk colophon (Fig. 6). Significantly, it also bears a close resemblance to the Harari manuscripts. The basic structure of the colophon, the use of a script in reserve, the modulated background color of the upper and lower registers, and the vegetal motifs all find striking parallels in the later Harari Qur’ān of 1708 (AAShC 218) as well as in the annotated Qur’ān of 1731 (Figs. 3, 5). Yemeni Qur’an manuscripts have similarly been described as using slightly archaic ornament.39 Strengthening the importance of Yemen to the manuscript culture of Harar, Anne Regourd has found several similarities on a codicological level between manuscripts from the two regions.40

Figure 9: Colophon (folios 154v and 155), Grammatical Introduction and Pentateuch, Yemen, 1469, British Library. Oriental 2348

Figure 9: Colophon (folios 154v and 155), Grammatical Introduction and Pentateuch, Yemen, 1469, British Library. Oriental 2348

Photograph courtesy British Library.

  • 41 For instance, an al-Kawākib al-durriyya completed in 938/1531 in Mecca show characteristics of Muza (...)
  • 42 A. Peacock, 2017, p. 291, 320-321.

22It is also important to remember that the scribe of the Khalili manuscript—as well as of AAShC 218—was a pilgrim to Mecca; in fact, most of the named scribes within the manuscripts bear the title qāḍī, faqīh, or ḥāğğ, all signs of their connection with long-distance scholarly networks. Not many manuscripts are known from early modern Arabia, but these manuscripts often continued a mixture of styles, revealing a diverse artistic repertoire that preserved older trends.41 One reason for this archaizing idiom may be the more superficial nature of Ottoman control in the region due to the entrenched authority of the Sharifs, the local rulers of the Hijaz. In fact, their continued strength forced the Ottomans to invest more heavily in Yemen to circumvent Jeddah and undermine the financial resources of the Sharifs.42 By the 18th century, Yemeni artisans seem to have been operating more formally within Ottoman modes, while Harari artisans continued this earlier Red Sea artistic idiom; however, the latter were not directly copying or preserving Mamluk styles, but rather were innovating by synthesizing from multiple sources.

Biḥārī: The unknown afterlife of an Indian calligraphic script?

  • 43 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 26-31, S. Blair, 2006, p. 563 and S. BLAIR, 2008, p. 71. For biḥārī script, se (...)

23In addition to the Mamluk—or perhaps more generally Egyptian—resonances of the manuscript’s illumination, the Khalili Qur’ān’s distinctive page layout and calligraphic script find their closest parallel not in Egypt but in India. As mentioned by Tim Stanley and Sheila Blair, the manuscript uses a type of biḥārī script, a unique cursive conventionally said to have been developed in the region of Bihar in northeast India by the 14th century, and rarely seen outside of India.43 A sign of its prestige, biḥārī was used only for religious manuscripts, and almost exclusively for the Qur’ān in pre-Mughal India. As a script, biḥārī is characterized by thick, wedge-shaped sublinear letterforms and thin verticals, as well as horizontal, rather than angled, diacritics (Fig. 10). The script within the Khalili Qur’ān lacks the wide spacing between words characteristic of Indian manuscripts. However, the extensions of sublinear letters are broad and wedge shaped. The final yā and lām are shallow, extending horizontally and thickening at the end. Diacritics are rendered with a smaller pen and are horizontal. These elements undoubtedly relate to biḥārī script, yet the similarities go beyond the script itself.

Figure 10: Detail, folio from a Qur’ān manuscript in biḥārī script, India, probably 15th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.374

Figure 10: Detail, folio from a Qur’ān manuscript in biḥārī script, India, probably 15th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.374

Photograph courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • 44 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2003, p. 81-93. Marginal notations in Qur’ān manuscripts are not uncommon, (...)

24Indian Qur’ān manuscripts with biḥārī script often included marginal glosses, which contain variant readings and hadith in another, less angular cursive script, nasḫī-dīwānī.44 The Khalili Qur’ān employs a page layout highly reminiscent of these Indian manuscripts, including not only zigzagging marginalia and a variation of biḥārī script, but also the juxtaposition of two different scripts: a more stylized cursive for the Qur’ānic text and a less angular script for the glosses (Fig. 11). These features suggest a shared aesthetic conceptualization between the Khalili Qur’ān and Indian Qur’ān manuscripts with biḥārī script. Several other Qur’ān manuscripts in the Sharif Harar Museum also use variants of biḥārī script, as do the two other early annotated maṣāḥif to be discussed below.

Figure 11: Left: Folio 136a, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on September or October 1749/ šawwāl 1162, Khalili Collection, QUR706. Right: Folio from a Qur’ān manuscript in biḥārī script, India, probably 15th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.374.

Figure 11: Left: Folio 136a, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on September or October 1749/ šawwāl 1162, Khalili Collection, QUR706. Right: Folio from a Qur’ān manuscript in biḥārī script, India, probably 15th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.374.

Left: Photograph courtesy Khalili Collection..Right: Photograph courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • 45 É. Brac de la Perrièr, 2016, p. 70-71.
  • 46 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2014, p. 332.
  • 47 J.J. Witkam, 1989, p. 157-158; B. Paluck, R. Saggar, 2002.

25While the use of biḥārī declined in India by the end of the 16th century, new research has revealed manuscripts penned in the script from as late as the 19th century. As discussed by Éloise Brac de la Perrière, these manuscripts employed less expensive materials and approximate, rather than strictly follow, the complex layout of the classical group.45 This suggests that they may have been produced for a market and therefore may have circulated widely.46 Perhaps an indication of these circulations, Jan Just Witkam has noted the presence of Qur’ān folios using biḥārī script in the Great Mosque of Dawrān in Yemen, which was founded in 1638, implying manuscripts in biḥārī script were available in Yemen in the mid-17th century, if not later.47 He also notes several undated Qur’ān folios produced in Yemen that were seemingly influenced by biḥārī script, opening the possibility that biḥārī was also practiced in Yemen and not solely in India. If the Harari Qur’āns looked to calligraphic traditions rooted in Yemen, this may account for the paleographic dissimilarities between the scripts of the Harari maṣāḥif and the biḥārī scripts used in Indian Qur’ān manuscripts.

  • 48 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2014, p. 307, 309, 337; É. Brac de la Perrière, 2009, p. 354.
  • 49 A. Peacock, 2017, p. 294.
  • 50 A. Chekroun, 2012, p. 294, 304.

26As mentioned above, it is likely that the manuscript traditions of Yemen and Arabia acted as intermediaries, mediating the convergence of different stylistic milieus and unifying these disparate manuscript centers. Brac de la Perrière has already argued for a relationship between Mamluk and Sultanate manuscript illuminations and paintings and mentions trade routes as one of the possible avenues for this transfer.48 Southern Arabia would have been critical in the movement of people and objects between India and Egypt and therefore able to mediate the convergence of the artistic idioms of Mamluk Egypt, Sultanate India, and Harar. Indian rulers heavily invested in Jeddah and Mecca, as well as in maintaining diplomatic relationships with the Sharifs.49 The earliest known version of the Futūḥ al-Ḥabaša, a chronicle of the military campaigns of Harari Imam Aḥmad al-Ġāzī from 1529 to 1543, was partially transcribed in Gujarat, India in the late 16th century. The chronicle was written by Šihāb al-Dīn Aḥmād (known as ‘Arab Faqīh), who was born in southern Arabia and trained in Yemen. The scribe of the Indian codex was himself born in Mecca and relocated to India at age 15.50 Additionally, Ethiopians were sent as slaves to India, where they rose to positions of authority. This movement between Ethiopia and India is often thought of as uni-directional, but this is clearly not the case.

  • 51 My thanks to Hassen Kawo for mentioning this manuscript to me.
  • 52 R. Pankhurst, 1981, p. 131-150; S. Chojnacki, 2003, p. 5-21.
  • 53 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2016, p. 80.
  • 54 An example of such a manuscript was sold at Bonhams on 21 April 2015, Islamic and Indian Art, lot 2 (...)

27Nonetheless, the possibility of a more direct relationship between Harar and India cannot be ignored. At least one Indian Qur’ān written in biḥārī script has been found within the religious institutions of Ethiopia, though the date of its transfer is unknown.51 As Richard Pankhurst and Stanislaw Chojnacki have noted, there is a greater use of Indian textiles within the bindings of Ethiopian Christian manuscripts, reflecting the increased trade between India and Ethiopia in the 18th century.52 Brac de la Perrière has found five 17th19th century Qur’ān manuscripts from India that use biḥārī script, possible evidence of the late continuation of the script within India, at least for limited purposes.53 Additionally, several earlier Indian manuscripts written in biḥārī script, but with 18th- and 19th-century repairs and additions, indicate that these earlier manuscripts may have remained in use and could have circulated across the Indian Ocean centuries after their initial production.54 These scattered references open the possibility of a direct relationship between contemporary Indian centers of manuscript production and Harar, perhaps related to extended trade routes.

The Khalili Qur’ān and the formation of a Harari stylistic idiom

28These multiple trans-regional visual resonances position Harar within circuits of artistic interchange that enriched the decorative repertoire of Harari artisans. However, these models were not simply copied but synthesized. The Khalili Qur’ān not only is typical in this respect, but also represents a moment of experimentation and codification in Harar in the mid-18th century, a moment clearly evident in the illuminations of the opening pages of the three earliest known dated annotated manuscripts, dated 1143/1731 (private collection), 1162/1749 (Khalili QUR706), and 1180/1767 (Sharif Harar Museum). In these manuscripts, the decorative program is concentrated around the main Qur’ānic text. In the oldest, the composition seems unbalanced. The text of the introduction is large and unframed in comparison with the illuminated panel below (Fig. 3). While there are marginal glosses within the manuscript, the opening pages have not been glossed. The opening page’s illuminated panel seems related to the 1708 Qur’ān, particularly in its color palette and use of modulating colored grounds (Fig. 5). In the 1180/1767 manuscript, the Qur’ānic text is simply framed by red panels containing twisted rope design in reserve; the sūra introduction is also framed, but the marginal glosses crowd the central panel (Fig. 4). Ultimately, it is the layout of the Khalili manuscript that has the most lasting legacy in Harar. Here, there was more of an effort to formulate a model that retains the visual prominence bestowed upon the Qur’ānic text, as opposed to the supplementary glosses and texts, an effort that appears to look to the Harari, Mamluk, and Sultanate Indian manuscript trends discussed earlier (Fig. 1). Additionally, the illuminations construct a page layout that emphasizes, distinguishes, and organizes the different information that is presented—the sūra introductions, the glosses, and the Qur’ān text—creating a distinctive Harari compositional form that continues for the next century.

29These experiments seem to coincide with a larger, mid-18th-century transition within the corpus, signified by the replacement of the diverse marginal ornamentations—formerly used to indicate the divisions within the Qur’ān text—by calligraphic notations. Combining these two approaches—the early historicizing style and the more streamlined one—the Khalili Qur’ān presents standardized palmettes for ğuz’ divisions, as well as calligraphic notations for ḥizb divisions (Fig. 12). The change also points to a more fundamental difference between the Khalili Qur’ān and the early 18th-century Harari maṣāḥif: the move away from slightly archaizing models. Ornamented sūra headings, marginal roundels, and palmette motifs rarely appear within Harari Qur’āns dated to the late 18th and 19th century. Instead, the illuminations of the Harari manuscripts appear to become more standardized and disciplined (Fig. 13).

Figure 12: Folio 191b, Qur’ān manuscript, completed in šawwāl 1162/ September or October 1749

Figure 12: Folio 191b, Qur’ān manuscript, completed in šawwāl 1162/ September or October 1749

Khalili Collection, QUR 706.

Photograph courtesy Khalili Collection.

Figure 13: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, probably 19th century

Figure 13: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, probably 19th century

24.2 x 16.2 cm, Sharif Harar Museum, AAShC 249.

Photograph courtesy the author.

30It also appears that the Harari scribes shifted from the more visible biḥārī script of the Khalili Qur’ān and instead preferred “biḥārī-esque” scripts, such as that seen in the Sharif Harar Museum manuscript. Here the biḥārī heritage is less apparent: the script is thinner, which adds to the dramatic juxtaposition between the thin vertical letters and broad, extending ends of the descending forms of lām, nūn, and kāf. The words nest within one another, creating a distinctive rhythm. This script appears to continue into the 19th century as a specialized script reserved for the Qur’ānic text in the city. These changes suggest the formation of a distinctive Harari visual style in the mid-18th century, one that looks less directly to trans-regional models but selectively engages them to create a more rooted, local style. Nonetheless, the greater influence of Ottoman models was felt into the late 19th century.

Later history of the manuscript

  • 55 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 28.
  • 56 I am currently exploring both the similarities within manuscript design and the position of Harar w (...)

31The circulation of the Khalili manuscript and the textual traditions that it employs emphasizes the centrality of networks that transversed the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, and the relationships they engendered in manuscript cultures around the Indian Ocean littoral. Just as the connections with Egyptian, Indian, and Yemeni manuscripts that are apparent in the Harari Qur’āns highlight the city’s role as a nexus within trans-regional artistic networks, the mobility of the Khalili manuscript itself highlights Harar’s position as a regional religious center within scholarly networks. The Khalili Qur’ān contains three later inscriptions that bear witness to its sale and circulation. In 1229/1813–14, the codex was purchased for 100 riyals by a certain Aḥmad from Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm Šayḫ. By ṣafar 1255/April or May 1839, it belonged to the collection of ‘Abd al-Qādir b. al- Šayḫ al-Sāliḥ Umar. About 30 years later, the Qur’ān came into the possession of Sa‘d b. ‘Umar b. Šayḫ Maḥmūd al-Zanğibāri. One of these later owners of the Khalili Qur’ān, ‘Abd al-Qādir b. al- Šayḫ al-Ṣāliḥ ‘Umar, was an Omani merchant based in Zanzibar, a testament to the cosmopolitan nature of East Africa.55 These inscriptions emphasize the relationships between the manuscript cultures of the Indian Ocean coast and may force us to consider an even wider context for the Harari material, particularly in light of the formal parallels between Harari and Indonesian manuscript illumination, seen in the similarity of compositional forms, as well as the prominence of scholarly networks and the rise of hegemonic empires in the 18th and 19th centuries (Fig. 14).56

Figure 14: Left: Frontispiece, al-Kawākib al-durriya, known as Qaṣīda al-burda (Poem of the Mantle), Harar, undated, Sharif Harar Museum. Right: Colophon, Boné Qur’ān, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Ramadan 1219/1804, Aga Khan Collection, AKM 00488.

Figure 14: Left: Frontispiece, al-Kawākib al-durriya, known as Qaṣīda al-burda (Poem of the Mantle), Harar, undated, Sharif Harar Museum. Right: Colophon, Boné Qur’ān, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Ramadan 1219/1804, Aga Khan Collection, AKM 00488.

Left: Photograph courtesy the author. Right: Photograph courtesy Aga Khan Collection.

Conclusions

  • 57 A. Bang, 2011, p. 91.
  • 58 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2016, p. 79.

32As Anne Bang has discussed, manuscripts consolidated a learned Muslim community, and their circulation created a trans-oceanic space, one held together by common religious reference books as well as the mobility of scholars themselves.57 It is within these trans-oceanic spaces that the Harari Qur’ān manuscripts must be situated. The tangible resonances of trans-regional circuits of artistic and scholarly interchange within the text, calligraphy, and decoration of the Khalili Qur’ān provide testimony to the selective and nuanced engagement of the Harari artisans with long-distance artistic networks. Since the majority of Qur’ān manuscripts written in biḥārī scripts in India were likely destined for centers of religious study and perhaps Sufi orders, they were intended for learned readers. Thus, it seems likely these Harari manuscripts were also meant for scholarly circles or teaching purposes.58 The artistic program of the Khalili Qur’ān reveals the need to examine both the global milieu of the Harari artisans and their codices within the framework of local Harari artistic and scholarly traditions.

33There are still many unexplored elements in the decoration of the Harari Qur’ān manuscripts, which may be rooted in local rather than trans-regional artistic traditions. Additionally, Islamic and Ethiopian visual cultures must be seen in tandem, allowing for a more holistic view of the region. Both appear to participate within a broader Indian Ocean community, appropriating and transforming forms, models, and materials into localized products. The processes behind these redeployments provide insight into the role of the Horn of Africa within a larger Indian Ocean ecumene. With the difference of medium—Christian manuscripts on parchment and Islamic ones on paper—the manuscript cultures of Ethiopia have often been considered separately. Nonetheless, the similarities between Christian and Islamic forms, color palettes, and manuscript design also emphasize the need to look past religious affiliations and consider the porous and multidirectional relationship between the Christian and Islamic manuscript cultures of Ethiopia. Vegetal and geometric filling ornament passed between Christian gospel manuscripts, healing scrolls, and Qur’ānic decoration. These parallels simultaneously raise questions as to whether these scribes and illuminators looked to the same sources abroad or potentially to traditions incorporated within a regional, Ethiopian artistic repertoire formed over the course of centuries. This emphasizes the need to think of Ethiopia not in isolation, but rather as a participant in and responder to the artistic traditions of the region.

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Notes

1 This paper was originally presented at the workshop “Christian and Islamic Manuscripts of Ethiopia”, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, in 2014. S. Chojnacki, 1983, p. 16-17; C. Bosc-Tiessé, 2009, p. 8-9, 15.

2 For example, see J. McKenzie, F. Watson, 2016; M. Heldman, S.C. Munro-Hay, 1993; M.J. Ramos, 2004, p. xvii-xxiv. As mentioned by Ramos, Ethiopian art was historically open to foreign models, which were then appropriated and transformed; it is important to look beyond the dichotomy of foreign and indigenous, and rather to focus on how these models and motifs were redeployed within Ethiopia.

3 In addition to the resonances of early Christian, Byzantine, and Coptic artistic forms, “Islamic” motifs entered the Ethiopian repertoire in response to the growth of Muslim states in the eastern Christian heartlands of Egypt and the Levant; see T.K. Thomas, 1997, p. 370-371; E. Balicka-Witakowska, 2010, p. 109-132; C. Bosc-Tiessé, 2004, p. 83-102. Bosc-Tiessé mentions the influence of Mughal India in the 17th and 18th centuries.

4 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 25-31.

5 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 25.

6 I am currently working on a doctoral dissertation that will attempt to trace the history of the production of Qur’ān manuscripts in Harar between the late 17th and 19th centuries. I am deeply indebted to Finbarr Barry Flood, Simon Rettig, and Claire Bosc-Tiessé for their generous and invaluable suggestions and comments, as well as to the Barakat Trust for their support for my fieldwork.

7 P. Revault, 2004, p. 16.

8 F. Fauvelle-Aymar, B. Hirsch, 2010, p. 43. In the absence of historical texts, Fauvelle-Aymar and Hirsch have been able to use archeological evidence to trace the spread of Islam in Ethiopia. Zayla rose to prominence partially due to greater Mamluk interest in the Red Sea.

9 R. Loimeier, 2013, p. 187. For a detailed history of Harar, see E. Cerulli, 1936, p. 1-55.

10 R. Loimeier, 2013, p. 186. Leading a multinational coalition that included Indian, Omani, Hadrami, and Maghribi soldiers, Imam Aḥmad Grāñ united the Somali tribes and the Muslim states in order to pose a military threat to the Christian king of Ethiopia.

11 P. Revault, 2004, p. 15; L. Kapteijns, 2012, p. 232.

12 The oldest Arabic manuscript in the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (hereafter IES) collection in Addis Ababa (IES 1852) is dated 989/1581 but may have been written in Cairo or by an Egyptian scribe; it was part of the library of Amir Aḥmad b. Muḥammad Yūsuf by 1212/1797–98. See A. Gori et al., 2014, p. xxlii, 24. The Futūḥ al-Ḥabasha (Conquest of Ethiopia) was likely written in Harar after 1599; copies of the text were certainty circulated, but details are scarce. See A. Chekroun, 2012, p. 293-295.

13 A. Gori, 2015, p. 285-288.

14 See A.J. Drewes, 1983.

15 The IES collection has been catalogued by Alessandro Gori and Anne Regourd, who are also working to catalogue the Sharif Harar Museum collection; see A. Gori et al., 2014. For an overview of the Arabic manuscript collections within Ethiopia and the challenges to the field, see H.M. Kawo, 2015; for an overview of European collections, see A. Gori et al., 2014, p. xxxvi-xxxix. I am very grateful to the gracious staff of the IES library for allowing me to examine the Qur’ān manuscripts in their collection, to Abdulahi Ali-Sherif and his family for their immense kindness and assistance during my visits to the Sharif Harar Museum, and to the Harar Cultural Ministry. Particular thanks are also due to Ahmed Zakariya, Kinde Mihretie, and Hassen Kawo for their generous advice and help.

16 There are no watermarks within the manuscript. My thanks to Nahla Nasser and the Khalili collection for facilitating my study of this manuscript.

17 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 26. The colophon is located on folio 283b and is published, along with the other inscriptions, in T. Stanley, 1999, p. 258.

18 I have yet to find other works by this scholar, but this text is repeated in numerous Harari Qur’ān manuscripts.

19 A major 12th century Andalusian authority on Qur’ān recitation, al-Šāṭibī is particularly known for his didactic poems on the counting of Qur’ān verses and the seven canonical readings, or recitations, of the Qur’ān (qirā’āt). A. Neuwirth, 1997, p. 365-366.

20 These verses can be translated as “We have given you the seven oft-recited verses and the whole glorious Qur’ān”, “Truly, this Qur’ān has been sent down by the Lord of the Worlds: The Trustworthy Spirit brought it down”, and “that this is truly a noble Qur’ān, in a protected Record that only the purified can touch”, respectively; see M.A. Abdel Haleem, 2005, p. 165, 237, 357.

21 These verses both identify the text that follows, but also instruct and condition how one should approach the volume and the sacred text it contains. An early example is a Qur’ān (QUR572) produced in Iraq or Iran in 582/1186 in the Khalili Collection; see D. James, 1992b, p. 40-43.

22 I have been told that there are manuscripts very similar to QUR706 within the library of the Jami Mosque in Harar.

23 I encountered this manuscript through the kind facilitation of Ahmed Zakaria and Abdullah Ali.

24 T. Stanley, 2004, p. 56-63; F. Déroche, 2000, p. 106-109. The influence of these forms was felt as far away as Indonesia; see A. Akbar, 2015, p. 311-334.

25 This opening page composition, albeit simplified, is seen as early as 1100/1689 in AAShC 6 in the Sharif Harar Museum.

26 D. James, 1999, p. 19.

27 S. Stetkevych, 2010, p. 70.

28 J.L. Meloy, 2003, p. 1.

29 T. Bittar, 2012, p. 317-321. Bittar also mentions that two Yemeni salvers, in addition to Mamluk metalwork, were found in Lalibela.

30 M. Heldman, 2007, p. 84-105; D. Behrens-Abouseif, 2014, p. 49-52. Behrens-Abouseif provides a short overview of the diplomatic relationships and embassies between Mamluk Egypt and Ethiopia.

31 For more details, see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_589582_en.html (accessed 30 June 2017).

32 A. Zekaria, 1991, p. 24.

33 F. Fauvelle-Aymar, B. Hirsch, 2010, p. 43.

34 D. Behrens-Abouseif, 2013, p. 308, 312, 319-20.

35 D. James, 1992a, p. 88, 239. An example of this is a folio in the Khalili Collection, QUR 627, which was likely produced in Cairo in 1561 or 1562, providing evidence for the continuation of Mamluk styles in early Ottoman Egypt.

36 For an in-depth study on the multiple lives of Qur’ān manuscripts and endowment traditions, see M. Farhad, S. Rettig, 2016.

37 D. James, 2007, p. 10. A testament to the distances manuscripts could travel, it is now located in Marrakesh, Morocco.

38 D. James, 1992a, p. 160. The folio (QUR 850) was likely produced in Yemen, ca. 13001350.

39 D. James, 1992a, p. 52.

40 A. Regourd, 2014, p. xlix, lxix.

41 For instance, an al-Kawākib al-durriyya completed in 938/1531 in Mecca show characteristics of Muzaffarid, Timurid, Mamluk, and early Ottoman styles—a rare example of the cosmopolitan artistic idiom of Arabia; see S. Fogg, 2009, no. 25.

42 A. Peacock, 2017, p. 291, 320-321.

43 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 26-31, S. Blair, 2006, p. 563 and S. BLAIR, 2008, p. 71. For biḥārī script, see É. Brac de la Perrière, 2014, p. 330; É. Brac de la Perrière, 2016; and S. Blair, 2006, p. 382-392. Blair mentions a few instances when the script has been noted outside of India.

44 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2003, p. 81-93. Marginal notations in Qur’ān manuscripts are not uncommon, to say the least, but zigzagging commentary is often linked to Indian manuscripts.

45 É. Brac de la Perrièr, 2016, p. 70-71.

46 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2014, p. 332.

47 J.J. Witkam, 1989, p. 157-158; B. Paluck, R. Saggar, 2002.

48 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2014, p. 307, 309, 337; É. Brac de la Perrière, 2009, p. 354.

49 A. Peacock, 2017, p. 294.

50 A. Chekroun, 2012, p. 294, 304.

51 My thanks to Hassen Kawo for mentioning this manuscript to me.

52 R. Pankhurst, 1981, p. 131-150; S. Chojnacki, 2003, p. 5-21.

53 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2016, p. 80.

54 An example of such a manuscript was sold at Bonhams on 21 April 2015, Islamic and Indian Art, lot 2. Another Qur’ān manuscript in bihārī script, Ms. Yah. Ar. 897 in the National Library of Israel, also contains a new opening page composition that was reconfigured to 18th century Mughal styles. For the long life of Qur’ān manuscripts, see M. Farhad, S. Rettig, 2016.

55 T. Stanley, 1999, p. 28.

56 I am currently exploring both the similarities within manuscript design and the position of Harar within these extended trans-regional networks in my doctoral dissertation.

57 A. Bang, 2011, p. 91.

58 É. Brac de la Perrière, 2016, p. 79.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on šawwāl 1162/September or October 1749, copied by ḥāğğ Sa‘d ibn Adish Umar Din
Légende 32.5 x 22.5 cm, Khalili Collection, QUR706.
Crédits Photograph courtesy Khalili Collection.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 232k
Titre Figure 2: Folio 135b-136a, Qur’ān manuscript
Légende Khalili Collection, QUR706.
Crédits Photograph courtesy Khalili Collection.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 172k
Titre Figure 3: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on ša‘bān 1143/ February 1731
Légende 31.5 x 21.5 cm, private collection.
Crédits Photograph courtesy the author.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 240k
Titre Figure 4: Opening page, Qur’ān manuscript, completed ḏū al-qa’da 1180/ March 1767, copied by ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. al-amīr Hāšim
Légende Sharif Harar Museum.
Crédits Photograph courtesy Finbarr Barry Flood.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 248k
Titre Figure 5: Opening page, Qur’ān manuscript, completed in 1120/1708 by ḥāğğ Ḫalīf b. Kabīr Ḥāmid
Légende Sharif Harar Municipal Museum, AAShC 218.
Crédits Photograph courtesy the author.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 224k
Titre Figure 6: Colophon pages, Qur’ān manuscript made for the library of al-Nāṣir Muḥammad (r. 1294–1313), copied by Šādhī b. Muḥammad (d. 1342), Mamluk Egypt
Légende Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, TIEM 450 (after James, Qur’ans of the Mamluks, p. 60-61).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 172k
Titre Figure 7: Finispiece of a Qur’ān manuscript, Mamluk Egypt, mid-14th century
Légende Freer Gallery of Art, F1930.55.1–2.
Crédits Photograph courtesy Freer|Sackler.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k
Titre Figure 8: Left: Frontispiece from Book of Confessions, Egypt, Mamluk period, ca. 1460, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S1986.29. Right: Frontispiece, al-Kawākib al-durriya, known as Qaṣīda al-burda (Poem of the Mantle), Sharif Harar Museum.
Crédits Left: Photograph courtesy Freer|Sackler. Right: Photograph courtesy the author.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 712k
Titre Figure 9: Colophon (folios 154v and 155), Grammatical Introduction and Pentateuch, Yemen, 1469, British Library. Oriental 2348
Crédits Photograph courtesy British Library.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 208k
Titre Figure 10: Detail, folio from a Qur’ān manuscript in biḥārī script, India, probably 15th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.374
Crédits Photograph courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Figure 11: Left: Folio 136a, Qur’ān manuscript, completed on September or October 1749/ šawwāl 1162, Khalili Collection, QUR706. Right: Folio from a Qur’ān manuscript in biḥārī script, India, probably 15th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.374.
Crédits Left: Photograph courtesy Khalili Collection..Right: Photograph courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 396k
Titre Figure 12: Folio 191b, Qur’ān manuscript, completed in šawwāl 1162/ September or October 1749
Légende Khalili Collection, QUR 706.
Crédits Photograph courtesy Khalili Collection.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Titre Figure 13: Opening pages, Qur’ān manuscript, probably 19th century
Légende 24.2 x 16.2 cm, Sharif Harar Museum, AAShC 249.
Crédits Photograph courtesy the author.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 256k
Titre Figure 14: Left: Frontispiece, al-Kawākib al-durriya, known as Qaṣīda al-burda (Poem of the Mantle), Harar, undated, Sharif Harar Museum. Right: Colophon, Boné Qur’ān, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Ramadan 1219/1804, Aga Khan Collection, AKM 00488.
Crédits Left: Photograph courtesy the author. Right: Photograph courtesy Aga Khan Collection.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/docannexe/image/2052/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 453k
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Référence électronique

Sana Mirza, « The visual resonances of a Harari Qur’ān: An 18th century Ethiopian manuscript and its Indian Ocean connections », Afriques [En ligne], 08 | 2017, mis en ligne le 28 décembre 2017, consulté le 25 avril 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/afriques/2052 ; DOI : 10.4000/afriques.2052

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Auteur

Sana Mirza

Doctoral candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, Education specialist, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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