World-renowned Ruzbihan Qur’an to go on display in Dublin

President to open Chester Beatty exhibition of ‘extraordinarily beautiful’ Islamic art


President Michael D Higgins will officially open an exhibition featuring one of the most valuable Korans in the world.

The “Ruzbihan Qur’an” was created in the mid-16th century by the Persian artist Ruzbihan Muhammad al-Tab’i al-Shirazi, one of the most renowed calligraphers in Islamic art.

He and a team of illustrators created the manuscript using the most valuable materials available at the time.

Only five of his Korans signed by him have survived and the one in the Chester Beatty library collection is going on display as part of the Lapis and Gold: The story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an exhibition which will be opened by President Higgins on Thursday evening.

The book has been in the Chester Beatty collection since it was handed over to the State in 1953.

It was disbound in 2012 for preservation. A pigment used in the original manuscript had leaked and the pages fused together.

It took two years to unbound the manuscript and place it on display in the Cheser Beatty library.

It begins with two pages dedicated to the sun or “shamsas” which are illuminated in lapis and gold. Two verses in the Koran are written into the centre of the shamsas.

Library director Fionnuala Croke described the Ruzbihan Qur’an as “extraordinary beautiful”.

She said: “The Chester Beatty’s Islamic collection is regarded as one of the finest in the world. Part of our mission at Chester Beatty is to increase understanding of the cultures that are represented in our collections.

“Through our displays and public programme, we help our visitors to understand the present through the past, as well as the interconnections between cultures.”

The Ruzbihan Qur’an is going on display in folio form before being rebound and is on display until August at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle. Admission to the exhibition is free.