The al-Sabah Collection is rich in manuscripts and folios from the Islamic world. Drawn from the geographic and chronological spread of the Islamic art, the arts of book are well represented in the collection. Many copies of the Qur’an, the most important book in the Islamic world, can be found in the collection. These range from a double page from one of the earliest such manuscripts, copied in the second century of Islam in a distinctive vertical script known as hijazi to a superbly decorated, large format manuscript signed by a famous calligrapher from Shiraz, while working at the royal court of Golconda in the Deccan in the 16th century CE.

An enormous number of Islamic manuscripts survive though relatively few are illustrated, particularly when it comes to works of Arabic literature. By contrast, a large number of illustrated manuscripts of Persian poetry were produced, some of the most important and beautiful examples of Islamic book arts. Both are included here.  As are miniature paintings and calligraphic exercises which were included in albums prepared for royal patrons.  Finally, miniature paintings in the collection from the schools inherited by Mughal India and the Deccan show the profound influence Persian painting had on the genre.

View some of our manuscripts & calligraphy collection below.