Abu Jahl and His Warriors
Unknown artist, Turkish, Istanbul
Abu Jahl and His Warriors, ca. 1594-95
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Sheet: 37.5 x 26.7 cm (14 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Slocum 85.106
Commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Murad III (reign 1574—1595), the illustrated manuscript of the Siyar-i Nabi relates the life story of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (ca. 570—632) translated into Turkish by Mustafa ibn Yusuf ibn ’Umar-al-Maulavi al-Arzan al-Rumi (known as Darir, ‘the Blind Man’) between 1377 and 1388. The manuscript is the first illustrated version of Darir’s text and includes the largest known cycle of Islamic religious painting. This page depicts Abu Jahl (d. 624), a Meccan aristocrat who refused to convert to Islam and became one of Muhammad’s archenemies. The bold color and simple forms are characteristic of paintings from this manuscript. Because the 814 miniatures were completed in less than two years, it has been assumed that the speed of execution influenced their innovative style.