A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59
Lot 30
A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold, and once in the possession of Faridun Jah, Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, and his descendants North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59
Sold for £44,450 (US$ 72,019) inc. premium

Lot Details
A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59 A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59 A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59 A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59 A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59 A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59
A richly illuminated Qur'an with each page exquisitely decorated with floral motifs in colours and gold, and once in the possession of Faridun Jah, Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, and his descendants
North India, Kashmir, circa AH 1275/AD 1858-59
Arabic manuscript on paper, 287 leaves, 17 lines to the page written in clear and neat naskhi script in black ink with diacritics and vowel points in red and black, gilt interlinear decoration, illuminated circular devices between verses, approximately 39 lines of Persian commentary written diagonally in nasta'liq script in red and black ink in the outer margin of each page, cornerpieces in upper margins of each page incorporating the juz number on the right-hand page and the sura heading on the left-hand page, inner margins with three bands decorated with floral garlands in colours and gold, 5 double pages of fine illumination in colours and gold, slightly creased otherwise in good condition, folios 1b-2a with an elaborate seal impression incorporating the names of the Prophet Muhammad and the Twelve Imams, and an ownership seal impression, last page with the same seal impression and a Persian inscription, contemporary black leather with stamped European-style gilt decoration of floral and vegetal motifs, doublures of marbled paper
265 x 147 mm.

Footnotes

  • The manuscript at one time belonged to the library of Mansur 'Ali, known as Faridun Jah, and was given to his son Sayyid Ahmad 'Ali Mirza, known as Miran Sahib in AH 1275/AD 1858-9. The note on the last page reads: kalamullah-e majid va forqan-e hamid az kutub-khaneh-ye gholam-e 'ali-ye vali sayyid mansur 'ali 'urf faridun jah 'enayat beh sayyid ahmad 'ali mirza urf miran sahib sana 1275 hejri: 'The Word of God and the Praised Qur'an, of the library of the servant of 'Ali, the Friend [of God], Sayyid Mansur 'Ali known as Faridun Jah was given to Sayyid Ahmad 'Ali Mirza known as Miran Sahib, year 1275 of the hijra.' The seal impression under the note is that of the Prince and reads: Kayvan Qadr Ahmad 'Ali Mirza Bahadur 1275.

    The large seal impression has been badly defaced. What can be seen is the prayer in the outer roundels, and cartouches that include the names of the Fourteen Innocents in thuluth. The middle band bears an inscription in Persian and in nasta'liq, starting with: goli keh, 'The flower that [...]', and then parts of the word al-Sultan. Those in the central cartouche are not sufficiently clear, and could be either Arabic or Persian. The appearance of the names of the Shi'a Imams reflects the fact that the Najafi Nawabs of Bengal were Shi'a.

    The Nawabs of Murshidabad represent the former ruling house of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. They had long ceased exercising any effective authority after Lord Clive secured the Diwani of these provinces for the East India Company from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II in 1765. Thereafter the Nawab Nazims enjoyed their titles, honours and privileges largely by the grace of the Company. Although entitled to a significant share of the revenues collected within those provinces, they had little or no say in their collection or expenditure, and ceased to control any significant administrative, legal or military forces.

    Following a long period of financial embarrassment, Nawab Mansur 'Ali Khan (1838-1880) was forced to renounce all his rights in return for the liquidation of his debts and a generous annual pension of £10,000. In 1854 he was reduced by the British from a salute of 19 guns to one of 13 guns for alleged complicity in the murder of two servants. He left Murshidabad for England in February 1869 and remained there until his return to Bombay at the very end of his life. His son and successor, Sayyid Hasan 'Ali Mirza, did not succeed to his styles and titles or retain his status as a ruling prince. He received the new title of Nawab of Murshidabad, together with the precedence, rank, dignity and privileges of premier noble of the provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. He died at Murshidabad in September 1878.

    For two Qajar Resht standards, circa 1840, made for Faridun Jah, see lot 143 in this sale.
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