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Quran of Ibn al-Bawwab
Dublin, Chester Beatty Library, Bagdad, Beginning of the 11th century

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Ibn al-Bawwab, Abu´l-Hasan Ali b. Hilal, known also under the name of Ibn al-Sitri, famous calligrapher of the Buwayhid period who died in Baghdad in 413/1022 (this date is more probable than 423/1031). He frequented the governmental circles of the period, as he was closely attached to the vizier Fakhr al Mulk Abu Ghalib Muhammad b. Khalaf at Baghdad and was for some time in charge of the library of Buwayhid Baha´ al-Dawla at Shiraz.

He was also an illuminator (at least one outstanding example of his work surviving), a devout man who knew the Kur´an by heart and is said to have reproduced sixty-four copies of it, and a man of letters who was well versed in the law and who wrote a treatise and a didactic poem on the art of writing.

His real title to fame, however, accoring to the early Arab authors, was to have perfected the style of writing invented, about a century earlier, by his famous predecessor, the vizier Ibn Mukla and to have brought it to a degree of well-balanced elegance which was to be surpassed later only by the efforts of Yakut al-Musta`simi.

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