The "Mahdiyya" Qur'an: about the text

The Mahdiyya copy of the Qur'an is manuscript 619 of the Special Collections of the University of Leeds Library . It was "collected" in the aftermath of the battle of Omdurman, and was presented to the University library in 1929.

Description of the manuscript: fol. 346 (ff. 247, 341, 342 cancels); 234-238 x 160-164 mm.; written area 170-175 x 100-102 mm.; 13 lines per page; laid paper; east Sudan naskh hand in black ink, finely vocalised also in black, with recitative notation, verse-dividers and sura-titles in red; frequent marginal notes again in red; no decorations; strong leather loose-cover binding artistically tooled, ending in an envelope-flap; dated 1299 (1881AD).
Taken from Brockett A, Aspects of the physical transmission of the Qur`an in 19th-century Sudan: Script, binding, decoration and paper, in Manuscripts of the Middle East, 2, pp. 45-67, 1987 (PDF).

[Thumbnail Image] [Thumbnail Image] Two pictures of the leather cover
[Thumbnail Image] [Thumbnail Image] Two letters connected to the volume.
Transcriptions may be read.
Except one page, only one paper has been used for writing the text of this Qur'an, bearing a watermark and its countermark. The watermark is the two-headed eagle of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with a sword and sceptre. The countermark, Andrea Galvani Pordenone, with a shield containing a moonface, gives us that the name of the fabricant, Andrea Galvani, and the city where the mill was based, Pordenone, which is situated in the Frioul (North-East of Italy). Page 247 alone bears a three moon ('tre lune') watermark, with human faces and the arc curved at the top and bottom edges.

To extract the marks of this peculiar paper through image processing has been the aim of this Leeds team. The method gives good results for capturing the exact size and shape of different marks of paper, including laid and chain lines, without involving human judgment. Online data bases are under construction which will offer the possibility of relevant comparisons, especially if the same norms are followed This Qur'an provides us with samples of imported paper at destination So another chapter is to be written on the study of paper devoted to the exportation, in starting from the place where they were employed and in reconstructing the roots through which they have been conveyed. The countermark Andrea Galvani Pordenone is well attested in Egypt of the 1880s and in Zabid of the end of the 18th-beginning of the 19th c. (Yemen) (see Brockett and Waltz and Regourd). For another type of two-headed eagle of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with a sword and a sceptre, see ms. 7/12 and 7/14) mentioned in Catalogue cumule des manuscrits ....

For more information: Prof. Roger Boyle.