Art And Culture

Rare Qur’an Manuscript on Display at Penn Museum

Rare Qur’an Manuscript on Display at Penn MuseumRare Qur’an Manuscript on Display at Penn Museum

An illuminated 12-century manuscript copy of the Qur’an from Iran is among the items showcased at an exhibition in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, commonly called Penn Museum.

Titled ‘Sacred Writings: Extraordinary Texts of the Biblical World’, it has been mounted in conjunction with the Penn Libraries, reported.

Two folios from a richly decorated, illuminated Qur’an from Iran are copied and signed by its scribe in Hamadan in 1164. The copy is written with black ink in cursive Naskh Arabic script, and features the complete text of the Qur’an, with commentary in red script. The exhibited pages feature the Surah Nuh (Noah), with a mention of the flood and Noah’s role as admonisher.

“This is a small, but truly inspiring exhibition,” said Julian Siggers Williams, Director of Penn Museum. “Now, there are only 10 texts on display, but what a spectacular set of texts they are. They are of enormous religious and historic significance, and are brought together for the public to experience from our vaults, from the Penn Libraries’ collection for this very special onetime”.

“The treasures have survived centuries and even millennia: one of the world’s oldest fragments of the gospel of Saint Matthew; the first Bible printed in the Americas, in the Native American Massachusetts language; a New Testament Bible published in 12 languages in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1599; the earliest version of the Mesopotamian flood story, predating the Biblical story of Noah, written on clay over 3,500 years ago,” Philadelphia Tribune reported.

The text from the Penn Libraries on display span over 750 years of human history and represent 13 languages, which in a disciplinary appeal attracts a vast scholarly audience ranging from medievalists to scholars who study the evangelization of Native Americans,” explained H. Carton Rogers, vice provost and director of Libraries at the University of Pennsylvania.

This special exhibit is small, but packs a powerhouse punch of ancient writing and is on view through November 7.