A Folio from a Qur'an
A Folio from a Qur'an in Behari Script
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
The Qur'an, the holy scripture of Islam, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in Arabic in the seventh century. Its words are venerated, as is the writing that communicates them. Thus calligraphy became an exalted art form in all Islamic cultures. Soon after the advent of Islam, Muslim settlers entered India from central and western Asia and brought Islam with them. As the religion took root in the Indian subcontinent, Arabic-language Qur'ans began to be produced in Indianized scripts, such as the Behari script seen here. This double-sided leaf features the end of the section on livestock (Surah Al-An'am) and the beginning of the section on purgatory (Surah Al-A'raaf). The text on this page is a powerful passage referring to "fire and brimstone." The use of alternating red, blue, and gold-the latter pigments made from lapis lazuli and real gold-indicates the patronage of an affluent person.