The historian, traditionist, and poet Ibn al-'Abbār, who lived in the city from 1199 to 1260, reports that the works of these master scribes were accorded such a high status that kings and illustrious persons haggled with each other to pay the highest possible price for their books. In his biographical dictionary (known as the Takmila) Ibn al-'Abbār mentions the most important of these calligraphers, namely 'Abdallāh b. Muḥammad b. 'Alī b. Mufrij b. Sahl al-Anṣarī, known as Ibn Ghaṭṭūs. Like his contemporary al-Rāwandī in Irān, Ibn Ghaṭṭūs came from a family of copyists: he ran a family business that seems to have specialised in transcribing the Qur'ān. He also taught calligraphy to outside pupils, such as Abū Ḥamīd b. Abī Ẓāhir, then imām of the Valencian mosque known as Raḥbat al-Qāḍī.
 ROSSER OWEN, Mariam, Islamic Arts from Spain, London 2010, p. 70.
 BLAIR, Sheila, Islamic Calligraphy, Edinburgh 2006, p. 225.
 Dār al-Kutub, Qur'ān ms. 196. See MORITZ, Bernhard, Arabic Palaeography. A collection of Arabic texts from the first century of the Hidjra till the year 1000 [Publications of the Khedival Library, 16] Cairo 1905, no. 47; KHEMIR, Sabiha, 'The Arts of the Book', in J. Dodds (ed.), Al-Andalus: the Art of Islamic Spain, New York 1992, p. 306, no. 76.
 Sold at Sotheby's, Arts of the Islamic World, London 22/4/1999, lot no. 12.
By the time of Ibn Ghaṭṭūs, these exquisite 'pocket Qur'āns' were incredibly fashionable throughout al-Andalus, being produced in at least three different centres, namely Córdoba, Málaga, and of course Valencia. Their characteristic shape seems to have influenced the coinage of the newly arrived Almoḥad rulers, who begun to employ elaborate square frames on both the obverse and reverse of the golden dīnars [fig. 3] struck in their new Spanish capital, Ishbīliyya (today's Seville), from the late 1140s.
 KHEMIR, op. cit., pp. 304-305, no. 75.
 Sold at Christie's, Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, London 7/10/2008, lot no. 97.
 A square Qur'ān from Málaga, dated 500/1106-7, is now in the Escorial Library (Arab. 1397).
Ibn al-'Abbār was apparently acquainted with Ibn Ghaṭṭūs the younger, and informs us that the he devoted himself entirely to the production of Qur'āns, crediting him with making "a thousand" copies. In many ways he seems to have had the same status in al-Andalus as Ya'qūt al-Musta'ṣimī had further east, and admiration for his work must have helped it survive.
But the Ibn Ghaṭṭūs family were not the only calligraphers at work in Valencia in the second half of the 12th century. A 'pocket' Qur'ān now in the Khalilī collection [fig. 4], dating from 596/1199, was penned in the same city by a Yūsuf b. 'Abdallāh ibn Khaldūn. It is much smaller than the manuscripts usually attributed to the Ibn Ghaṭṭūs atelier (about 11x11 cm) and features 25 lines per page. The scribe is unknown from other sources, but it is tempting to identify him as a member of the same family of the famous historian Ibn Khaldūn (b. 1332), who was of Andalusian descent.
 Tunis National Library, ms. Ahmadiyya 13727.
 Istanbul University Library, ms. A 6754.
 JAMES, David, The Master Scribes: Qur'ans of the 11th to 14th centuries AD, The N. D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, II, London 1992, p. 89.
 Sold at Sotheby's, Arts of the Islamic World, London 13/10/2004, lot no. 5. See also Islamic Manuscripts [Sam Fogg Rare Books and Manuscripts, catalogue of the exhibition], London 2000, item no. 6.