500-Year-Old Handwritten Holy Quran To Be Fully Restored By End Of April

The restored Quran contains 75 chapters and was completed sometime around the 15th or 16th century.

Cover image via New Straits Times & Focus Taiwan

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The National Taiwan Library hopes to finish the restoration of a 500-year-old handwritten Holy Quran by the end of this month

The person in charge of this duty is Hsu Mei-wen, a book restorer at the national library's Book Hospital, who specialises in the restoration of ancient texts and calligraphy.

According to New Straits Times, only the book's cover and binding are left to be repaired.

Hsu stated that while she is neither a Muslim nor a Buddhist, she chose not to consume pork throughout the restoration process.

She added that the Quran she is restoring contains 75 chapters, was handwritten by four different people using different inks, and was completed sometime around the 15th or 16th century.

Two years ago, Faisal Hu, a Tzu Chi volunteer and Muslim based in Turkey, presented this particular Quran as a gift to Dharma Master Cheng Yen, founder of the Taiwan-based Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation

According to The Star, Cheng was riffling through the book one day, when she noticed what appeared to look like ants on some of the pages, and she later contacted the national library.

Hsu said the 'ants' were actually cigarette beetles, which are commonly found in old books. She used nitrogen gas to exterminate them.

Image via Focus Taiwan

She added that it took her eight months to source the right repair materials, such as linen fibre, as their usual suppliers didn't have anything similar.

Eventually, she located some material at the national library's warehouse, which appeared adaptable and was later dyed with a mineral pigment to make it look identical to the Quran.

Throughout the restoration period, Hsu carefully extracted dust, seeds, and human hair from the sacred book, all of which she plans to preserve and display, alongside the restored Quran.

Image via Focus Taiwan

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