Dar al-Makhtutat / Maktabat al-Jamiʿ al-Kabir

Image archive of the oldest Qurʾān fragments from Sanaa/Yemen

The image archive of the Qurʾanic fragments from Sanaa contains microfilms, colour slides and photographic prints of the fragments of 926 Qurʾanic manuscripts discovered in 1971/72 during restoration work in the Great Mosque of Sanaa. These Qurʾanic fragments are now kept in the Dār al-Makhṭūṭāt ("House of Manuscripts", Sanaa, Yemen). It is one of the most extensive collections of early Qurʾanic manuscripts in the world, but it is also the least known and largely inaccessible to research. The fragments are among the oldest Islamic written testimonies, dating back to the 7th century. The manuscripts were documented, restored and filmed within the framework of “Deutsch-Jemenitisches Handschriften-Projekt“ („German-Yemeni Manuscript Project”), which was funded by the Kulturerhalt-Programm of the German Foreign Office from 1980 to 1997. The relevance of these materials for Qurʾān research, Islamic studies and Islamic art history can hardly be overestimated. The Saarbrücken based art historian, Dr. Hans-Casper Graf von Bothmer, handed over the microfilms to Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin in 2019. At the same time, the library acquired Count von Bothmer's personal photographic archive of Sanaa materials. In total, there are 24,000 MF photographs as well as about 5,000 colour slides and B/W prints, which were digitised and indexed in cooperation with Corpus Coranicum project of the Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. The digitisation and indexing project was carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Culture in Sanaa and was made possible by generous funding from the NEUSTART KULTUR programme of Bundesbeauftragte für Kultur und Medien (BKM). In future, in-depth cataloguing will take place in the database Manuscripta Coranica of the Corpus Coranicum project.