Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.33
Title
The Prophet Muhammad's Ascent to Heaven (painting, verso; text, recto), folio from a manuscript of the Khamsa (Iskandarnama) by Nizami
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
1584
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Shiraz
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/165465
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
39.5 x 26.2 cm (15 9/16 x 10 5/16 in.)
Provenance
[Christies, London, 18 October 1994, lot 27]. [Mansour Gallery, London, 1994 or 1995], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1994 or 1995 - 2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
2002
Object Number
2002.50.33
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Descriptions
Description
This depiction of the miraculous night journey of Muhammad shows him facing right, following the lead of Gabriel. The Archangel holds a green banner, and the Prophet, his face veiled, rides his mystical steed, Buraq. Colorful, vessel-bearing angels gather around them. In the upper right corner of this painting appear two motifs absent from the other illustration: lion and sun, which traditionally are Shi'i symbols associated with the house of the Prophet.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
109

The Prophet’s Ascent, from the Iskandarnāma
Recto: text
Verso: text and illustration
Folio: 39.5 × 26.2 cm (15 9/16 × 10 5/16 in.)
2002.50.33

Published: Christie’s 1994a, lot 27; McWilliams 2002, 15, fig. 10.

This depiction of the miraculous night journey of Muhammad shows him facing right, following the lead of Gabriel. As in the previous version of the scene (cat. 107), Gabriel holds a green banner, and the Prophet, his face veiled, rides his mystical steed, Buraq. Colorful, vessel-bearing angels gather around them. In the upper right corner of this painting appear two motifs absent from the other illustration: lion and sun, which traditionally are Shiʿi symbols associated with the house of the Prophet.[1]

Mika M. Natif

[1] For further information on this symbolism, see Farhad 2009, 118, cat. 22, and 320n8; Shahbazi 1999.

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, "With Quite Different Eyes: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art", Apollo, ed. David Ekserdjian (November 2002), vol. CLVI no. 490, pp. 12-16, p.15, fig.10

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 246, cat. 109, ill.

Exhibition History

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/22/2016 - 03/14/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu