Rare Quran manuscripts go on display at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation

The expansive collection of works reveals the influence of Islamic design on the region and beyond

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A selection of 50 Quran manuscripts spanning 14 centuries of Islamic civilisation is on show for the first time at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation.

The rare works are part of the Hamid Jafar Quran Collection and include examples of Islamic calligraphy from China to North Africa.

The expansive exhibition, titled Sacred Words, Timeless Calligraphy: Highlights of Exceptional Calligraphy from the Hamid Jafar Qur’an Collection, begins on Tuesday, and showcases the craftwork and detail of key pieces of Islamic calligraphy and design.

The exhibition also reflects the nuances of unique aesthetic details and considerations in the works that were heavily influenced by the locations they were produced in and the artisans who created them.

Hamid Jafar, founder and chairman of Sharjah's Crescent Group of Companies, began collecting the rare manuscripts more than 40 years ago.

“I am proud and honoured to be exhibiting this selection from my collection for the first time ever,” he said.

He said he was even more proud to be "doing so in my beloved Sharjah, which I have taken as my home for over half a century, and to be sharing with the wider community the beauty of these remarkable works”.

The pieces were first collected in an effort to present Islam’s artistic influence and its unifying force in the region.

The collection also demonstrates how varying aspects of Islamic design theory and ornamental elements became a great source of inspiration, influencing not only manuscripts but architecture and craftwork of different cultures from the Near East to China, South-East Asia to Spain and North Africa.

The exhibition is on display at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation until March 19.

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