Nick Posegay deposited The Marking of Poetry: A Rare Vocalization System from an Early Qurʾān Manuscript in Chicago, Paris, and Doha in the group Islamicate Studies on Humanities Commons 2 years, 7 months ago
This paper provides updated digital images of four Qurʾān fragments from Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum (OIM) that appeared in Nabia Abbott’s Rise of the North Arabic Script, and calls attention to features of their paleography and vocalization which are not apparent from her original black-and-white plates. In doing so, it demonstrates that these four fragments all belong to the same copy of the Qurʾān, which is also the same Qurʾān as nineteen leaves in Paris’ Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) and two leaves in Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). All twenty-five folios of this Qurʾān contain a unique vocalization system that represents /a/ and /u/ with miniature red forms of alif and wāw. This system of “letter-form” vocalization signs is unattested in other Qurʾān manuscripts and corresponds with a type of vocalization which medieval sources describe as shakl al-shiʿr: “the marking of poetry.” The subsequent discussion analyzes the features of this shakl al-shiʿr system and contextualizes it within the history of both this Qurʾān manuscript and the history of Arabic writing as a whole. Article is open access with full manuscript images available on the JNES site (https://doi.org/10.1086/712876).