Thursday, March 08, 2007

Antique Quran Seized by Indian Police

Bangalore authorities have nabbed a man attempting to sell what he says is an Quran "written by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb," which would make it about 400 years old. The emperor's "supposed signature is found on the last page," The Hindu reports (or it's signed on every page, according to the Pakistan Times).

"Speaking to presspersons here on Wednesday, Police Commissioner N. Achuta Rao said the CCB police, on a tip-off, arrested M.G. Sukumar (44) from Thrissur, Kerala, at a hotel on M.G. Road where he was waiting for potential buyers. He said they were yet to ascertain whether the Koran and the painting were indeed antiques, as claimed by Sukumar." The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been called in to determine the antiquity of the book.

"Each page [of the Quran, which weighs 13 kg] is a copper plate coated with paper which is, in turn, coated with a chemical that has helped protect the beautiful calligraphy. Moreover, every page has a unique fragrance of its own. Gold and silver has been mixed with the ink and each of the 30 sections is written in a different calligraphic style."

The man also had a large Tanjore painting decorated with semi-precious stones.