Christie's withdraws sale of smuggled Quran

Published 26.10.2017 00:21

A British auction house has withdrawn the planned sale of an early copy of the Quran that had sparked complaints from the Turkish government.

The decision by London-based Christie's came a day before an auction of Islamic art that included the rare, 16th-century copy of the Islamic holy book.

In a statement yesterday to Anadolu Agency (AA), Christie's said they had "withdrawn lot 203 from the sale of Islamic Art and we are in discussions with relevant parties about the object."

The auctioneers did not elaborate on the reasons for their cancellation of the planned sale.

In a formal letter, Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry earlier this week requested the auctioneers halt the sale of the manuscript.

Turkish officials believe the book was smuggled out of Turkey illegally.

The 500-year-old book had been signed by Ottoman calligrapher Mustafa Dede and was estimated by Christie's to fetch a price of between 120,000 pounds and 180,000 pounds ($157,200 to $237,000).

Its celebrated calligrapher, Mustafa Dede, was the son of Sheikh Hamdullah. Mustafa Dede traveled to Mecca for the hajj, as well as to Cairo to study the work of his father, but spent most of his life in Istanbul, then Constantinople.

Other work by Mustafa Dede includes copies of the Quran in the Topkapı Palace Museum and Süleymaniye Library, both in Istanbul.

Another Quran by Mustafa Dede from Istanbul's Rare Books Library was sold at auction in Sotheby's in London in October 2014.

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