Qur'an folio on blue parchment

Fatimid or Abbasid Period

Object Place: North Africa or Near East


Height x width: 28 × 36.6 cm (11 × 14 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ink, gold, silver, and color on indigo-stained parchment

Not On View


Africa and Oceania


Books and manuscripts

Leaf from the famed “Blue Qur’an” containing verses from Sura 3 of the Qur’an. Text written in gold on indigo-dyed parchment, with silver verse and chapter markers. Traces of traces of gold, red and green pigment are visible in areas of silver suggesting they were executed over earlier and more colorful illuminations.


Verso- Sura 3 [Al-Imran, "House of Imran"], vv. 47-50

Recto- Sura 3 [Al-Imran, "House of Imran"], vv. 50-55

The text on the verso side of this page, translated below, is from Chapter 3, "The House of Imran," verses 47-50. It is part of the angel's annunciation to Mary of the birth of the prophet Jesus:

"God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He does but say to it, "Be," and it is. And He will teach him the book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird by the leave of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by the leave of God. I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. Likewise confirming the truth of the Torah that is before me..."


1931, purchased at the Exhibition of Persian Art [1] by the MFA for $85. (Accession Date: December 22, 1933)

[1] Possibly the 1931 International Exhibition of Persian Art organized by the Royal Academy at Burlington House, London.

Credit Line

Samuel Putnam Avery Fund