عنوان مقاله [English]
The art of decoration and illumination of holy books has ancient origin, and history of the use of decoration in holy books can be attributed to the illuminated (gilded) religious manuscripts of pre-Islamic Manichaeans. Due to their religious and ritual function, this method of book decoration was transferred to the later cultures and religions, and in those religions and beliefs, it was transformed in accordance with their religious and intellectual principles and foundations. In other words, in some cases, they have remained as before one or have become more complete and complex, and in other cases, these patterns and motifs have been removed or refined. Islam and Christianity, for example, have used this method to express their prominent and sublime concepts. Some manuscripts of these holy books contain the pages known as the decoration or carpet pages (the term is common, especially in Christian and Jewish holy books); pages without text and filled completely by decorative (inhuman) motifs. The decoration of these pages is such that no empty space can be found in it. These pages are usually placed at the beginning of each four sections of the Gospel as well as at the first and the last pages of the Qur'an; like a brilliant gate that is a catharsis for the mind and spirit before entering and reading the sacred text. The earliest examples of these pages can be found in the Qur'ans belonging to the third century AH in Islamic realm (9th century AD) and the triple Insular Gospels in Ireland (7th to 9th century).
As the same way, the purpose of this fundamental study was to elucidate the commonalities and differentiations between the arrays and motifs of the decorative pages in the Qur'anic manuscripts in the first centuries of Islam and the first gilded gospels in Insular art. The main query of this research focused on the degree of matching and differentiation between the motifs used in decorating these pages in the early gilded manuscripts of the Qur'ans and the Insular Gospels. In addition to the main research question, we can elaborate on the types of motifs and the way they are represented, as well as the roots and causes for using these motifs in the two books of Qur'an and Gospel. Since the first examples are usually effective to identifying the origins and causes of formation and development, the necessity and importance of research is determined in knowing more about causes of formation of patterns and its development and evolution. In fact, the comparison and description of these motifs in the first gilded Qur'ans and Gospels can also help to further clarify the patterns that evolved in later eras. For example, why in the illuminated manuscripts of Gospels, the arrays and motifs are more mature than in the first gilded Qur'ans?
In the background of the research, we can only point to two comparative studies in Islamic and Christian manuscripts that were not related to the study of the designs and motifs of the Carpet pages of the holy books. One is the research by Shayestehfar (Shayestehfar, 2006) in which the decorative motifs of the Qur'ans of the Ilkhanid period and the illustrated Gospels of the contemporary Gothic period have been studied. Another is Shirazi's article (Shirazi, 2016) that studies the miniatures of scientific and literary books in the Islamic world (Seljuk period and the Abbasid school) and the art of book of Christianity (the third period of Byzantium and Romanesque style).
By relying on a descriptive-analytical method and a formalistic approach, the present study compares the patterns and decorative elements in these pages. The method of data gathering in this study is searching the resources available in libraries and use of archives available at the European museums. Also, the procedure of data analysis in this qualitative study is inferential. The sampling of the works is based on the antiquity of the decoration pages in the Qur'an and the Gospel manuscripts. In the case of the Gospels, samples from manuscripts of Insular art (3 samples of the Bible) and in the case of the Qur'an, samples from manuscripts belonging to the third century AH (4 samples of the Qur'an) were selected and all their decorations and arrays were studied. As a result of this study, it was found that plant motifs as well as intertwined and geometric patterns (with the predominance of curved lines on broken ones) were used in the decoration of both Islamic and Christian manuscripts. Animal motifs, however, were found only in the Gospel versions. In terms of the amount of commonalities, it was found that in both manuscripts, lattice geometric patterns and intertwinements were very similar. The clear differences between decorative pages in the Qur'ans and the Gospels include the circular Celtic symbols, the Celtic knots, and twisted animal forms in the Insular Gospel manuscripts.