Quran hand-lettered in gold on transparent black silk

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/08/quran-hand-lettered-in-gold-on.html



Personally, I’d have written out The Lord of the Rings, but the technique and final result looks absolutely stunning.


You comment startled the hell out of me - because I had exactly the same thought, down to the source material (although I don’t want to take anything away from the artist’s accomplishment, here). A silk edition of LOTR would be flat-out amazing.

Come to think of it, it sort of IS a geek holy book…


Really amazing execution. It’d be neat to see a version of this but with illuminated drawings or designs (of the Muslim variety… i just don’t know what their patterns are called)


Here I am trying to think of how well DON’T PANIC would look in Gold on dark blue silk


That’s some beautiful work. Three years on one project, though - that takes a solid commitment. Cheers to her for completing it!


I just tried to figure out how much that edition would cost if you hired someone else to produce it for you. LotR is six times as long as the Quran. I keep trying to calculate the cost, and it keeps getting revised upward. My current estimate is in the mid 6-digits (USD), and I think it may still be too low by an order of magnitude.


Value for something like that would be hard to determine, and to some degree is subjective. It’d definitely be very expensive if you were to look at the labor cost alone.

Gorgeous, but way too reverent and un-campy for the source material.

That’s what I mean. I don’t mean the value to its possessor, I’m talking the actual cost to produce.

The labour cost alone (3 years x 6 times as many words x yearly salary of skilled artisan = !!!) is enough to bring it up to the mid six-figures.

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I’d say that an artist would be inclined to do this as a side project and look to sell as they near completion, it’d be a pretty sweet way to have a profitable long term project. If it were to be commissioned by someone it’d depend on the intent… someone could commission it with the intent to auction it. They could pay a salary to the artist, with the expectation of a bonus dependent on the auction results. But if someone were to just commission it to own it outright… i don’t know. These are questions for people way more qualified than I :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, would the artist or seller need permission from the Tolkien estate?

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I remember hearing that it was a long-held tradition for people to hand transcribe their own copies of the Quran. I’ve not seen many, but those I have seen are beautiful.
And in Judaism, you need to memorize portions of the Torah to indicate you are ready for adulthood.

Interestingly, there’s no similar demand for close acquaintance with the Bible among Christians. Indeed, the appeal to the illiterate was so strong that story panels in churches were made to allow those who could not read to visually see the stories.

Just saying.


That’s gorgeous.


Good question.

Overall, I would think not. Yes, you are reproducing copyrighted material, but it’s not done for commercial sale, but rather as a single commissioned work. It’s certainly not diluting the market for the bookstore editions of the book, and I would say that the calligraphy alone would be rendering it transformative. I think that the Estate could sue, but I doubt they would do so: not for a one-off piece of art.

If it were exhibited publicly, however, rather than just being an enormous coffee table book in someone’s house, I think the Estate would be required to provide permission, though.

And depending on how long it takes to create and where you make it, it might be out of copyright by that point anyway (2023 in Canada, 2044 in the UK and the US based on current copyright law).


I was goofing around on one of those family tree research websites and I was reminded on seeing this of a New England ancestor who got in trouble for violating the sumptuary laws for having silver thread in her collar.


Pretty ace answer. Thanks :slight_smile:

Actually the ceremony of “bar mitzvah” involves just to know how to read and enunciate Biblical Hebrew to read from a Torah scroll.

In fact the status of adulthood (being obligated to the commandments & laws) is automatic upon reaching the age of 13 for boys and 12 for girls.


Might have had something to do with there being no cat videos and Facebook back then. You had to kill time somehow.

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A true Tolkien fan would write that out in Ithildin using a silver pens so the lettering would only be visible under the light of a particular phase of the moon.


Not memorize–be literate. One of my favorite pieces, culturally speaking, from the Torah is a section from Judges, where the judge is betrayed by a town’s leadership; surviving the betrayal, he has a shepherd boy from the town write down the names of the betrayers, and it is not taken as anything other than expected that the boy is literate. I think that one of the reasons for the longevity of the Jewish culture is that expectation of literacy and cultural transmission.

As was pointed out to me by an Orthodox friend of mine recently, the majority of European religions two thousand years ago were some form of mystery cults, where only the initiated inner circles were knowledgeable about how the rites were performed, and now we know very little beyond educated guesses and second-hand sources of how, say, the cult of Dionysus, or the cult of Isis, or the cult of Odin actually did the specific details of their worship. But for Judaism? The holiest of the holy rites? The ones that, if the high priest does them incorrectly, will result in his death? All written down for reference, in detail, for everyone in the culture to be familiar with.