There is a burnish for everything

Burnished shell gold and historical pigments on parchment. 21x15cm (26.5x32 cm framed).
Inspired by 9th-c. Qur’ans written entirely in gold.

Date9 March 2022

إن لكلّ شيء صقالة وإن صقالة القلوب ذكر الّله

There is a burnish for everything, and the burnish for hearts is the Remembrance of God. (Hadith)

I wanted to make a piece inspired by a few Qur’ans created with chrysography (“gold writing”) such as this sample:

The style corresponds again to classic Manuscript Kufi but the diacritics are interesting because in addition to the red vocalisation dots, there is blue for shadda and green for hamza, so once more we have a colourful and cheerful composition.

In chrysography, the letters are written directly with shell gold, then burnished against a hard surface so the gold can attain its metallic shine. For this reason I absolutely needed to match it with the hadith above, with its specific mention of burnishing.

The border design comes from a different chrysography Qur’an:

I used parchment to make the most of the burnishing, because the thickness of good paper interferes with it. In the work-in-progress below, all the gold has been laid down, in 3 different shades: 23.5ct, green and rouge.

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