ABSTRACTION AND CALLIGRAPHY – TOWARDS A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE | LOUVRE ABU DHABI
This page belongs to one of the most sumptuous Qurans ever created. The apparent simplicity of the Kufic calligraphy, balanced composition, density of line and contrast between the powdered gold of the letters and the midnight-blue background make it a work of great purity. Composed across a double page, it consists of fifteen lines of writing in golden letters on blue-dyed velum, following a practice used for purple-coloured Byzantine imperial codices. The end of each verse is marked by an illuminated silver motif, now oxidised, while the end of each set of five verses is highlighted in the margin by an illuminated gold motif. The “Italian-style” oblong format, characteristic of the oldest productions of the Muslim West, is adapted to the very dense Kufic style, in this case in geometric mode. The angular letters, supported by a baseline, are drawn out disproportionately in relation to the relatively compact upstrokes. The difficulties in reading the text are accentuated by the absence of vowels. The extreme geometrisation dictates the pagination and formal repetitions. This mashq technique, very much in vogue in the late 9th and early 10th centuries, emphasising the graphics of the letter, gives rise to an abstract language, a transfigured image that is a luminous metaphor of the divine word.
Leaf from the ‘’Blue Qur’an’’, nonym – North Africa, Spain or Sicily, c. 900. Gold on blue-dyed parchment Louvre Abu Dhabi © Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: APF © ADAGP, Paris 2021Source: © Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: APF © ADAGP, Paris 2021