ABU’L-QĀSEM SAʿĪD B. EBRĀHĪM B. ʿALAM EBRĀHĪM B. ṢĀLEḤ, 5th/11th century calligrapher, probably a native and resident of Nīšāpūr. His name is preserved in the colophon of a Koran manuscript written in early nasḵī script. The Koran (London, British Library, Add. 7214; Plate XVI) is dated Jomādā I, 427/March, 1036. D. S. Rice’s reading “b. ʿAlī” in the colophon differs from R. Ettinghausen’s earlier “b. ʿAlam.” However, one could read “ʿAllām” (i.e., very learned) for “ʿAlam;” since alef is several times omitted in this colophon, e.g., in Q(ā)sem, Ebr(ā)hīm, Ṣ(ā)leḥ. D. S. Rice discovered on fols. 2v-3r the signature of the illuminator, Abū Manṣūr Nāǰeʿ b. ʿAbdallāh, which indicates that the scribe and the illuminator of the richly embellished and gilded manuscript are not identical.

On the basis of style both Ettinghausen and Rice believe the manuscript to have originated in eastern Persia. In the colophon the scribe calls himself the son or grandson of a pupil of Jawharī. That famous Arab lexicographer (originally from Turkestan) after extensive travels, settled in Nīšāpūr to teach, copy books, and pursue a literary career; he is said to have died there between 393-400/1002-10. The pupil in question seems to be Ebrāhīm b. Ṣāleḥ Warrāq, who, according to one tradition, completed his master’s famous lexicon, al-Ṣeḥāḥ, from notes. This claim is questioned by several historians. Jawharī’s script was itself much admired and considered to be equal of that of the renowned Ebn Moqla.

Bibliography : R. Ettinghausen, “Manuscript Illumination,” in Survey of Persian Art, pp. 1946f., pls. 926, 928. D. S. Rice, The Unique Ibn al-Bawwāb Manuscript in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, 1955, pp. 25f., 31-33, pl. XIIIa, b. M. Lings and Y. H. Safadi, The Qurʾān, A British Library Exhibition, London, 1976, no. 54 and fig. 54. L. Kopf, “Al-Djawharī,” EI 2 II, pp. 495-97. D. Sourdel, “Ibn Muḳla,” EI 2 II, pp. 886-87.

(D. Duda)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, p. 365

Cite this entry:

D. Duda, “ABU’L-QĀSEM SAʿĪD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, p. 365; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-qasem-said-11th-century-calligrapher (accessed on 2 February 2014).