The National Library of Egypt’s Collection of Mamluk Qur’an Manuscripts
|Region / Country||
- Arab Countries > Egypt
|Year of Registration||2013|
The National Library of Egypt (Dar al-Kutub al-Misriya) possesses a unique and extremely important corpus of one hundred and forty Mamluk Qur’an manuscripts and bindings that can be securely dated to the Mamluk period (1250-1517 CE) by colophons and endowment and dedicatory statements. During this time, Cairo became the cultural, religious, and intellectual centre of the Islamic world. Extensive building activity took place under the patronage of the Mamluk sultans and military and civilian elite, who founded institutions including mosques, mausolea, madrasas, saints’ shrines, Sufi lodges, and hospitals, often grouped together to form a single complex including a library. These patrons endowed Qur’an and other manuscripts to these institutions for teaching and study purposes and also commissioned manuscripts for their private libraries. The Mamluk Qur’an manuscript collection of the National Library of Egypt is of national and global importance: it is the largest in the world; the manuscripts are almost unmatched for splendour, opulence, and size in the history of the Islamic arts of the book; and they are key to our understanding of developments in Islamic calligraphy, illumination, and bookbinding not only in Mamluk Egypt but throughout the Islamic world.