Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad
Sultan Muhammad, Persian, Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad, first half of the 16th century, Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund 84.147
Islamic book arts began to flourish in the thirteenth century. This illumination of the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad is probably from the Khamsa (Quintet), five long poems by the poet Nizami (ca. 1141- ca. 1209). Surrounded by winged angels presenting him with valuable gifts, the veiled Prophet Muhammad sits astride Buraq, his human-headed steed, and is guided by the angel Gabriel on a mystical night journey (mi’raj) through the heavens. It is likely that the illustration was paired with the manuscript’s dedicatory prayers.