"The Mi'raj or The Night Flight of Muhammad on his Steed Buraq", Folio from a Bustan of Sa`di
Sultan Muhammad Nur (ca. 1472–ca. 1536)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
present-day Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, probably Bukhara and Herat
Ink, gold, and colors on paper
Painting: H. 7 1/2 in. (19 cm)
W. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Page: H. 11 in. (27.9 cm)
W. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Purchase, Louis V. Bell Fund and The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 1974
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
The heavenly journey of the Prophet forms a centerpiece of Muslim piety. Persian poets from the thirteenth century onward prefaced their epics with a colorful description of the mi'raj, the heavenly journey that brought the Prophet into the immediate presence of God. This miniature is particularly interesting as the Prophet is shown with his face unveiled, riding on the mysterious mount Buraq. Later pictures of Muhammad generally show him with a veil covering his face, and in more recent times even his entire body is usually symbolized by a white cloud or a rose.
Inscription: In Arabic in nasta‘liq script
Sa’di بوستان Bustan story في نعت سید المرسلین علیه الصلوة و السلام (description of Master of messengers, prayer and peace upon him).
(Bustān–i Sheikh Ajall Sa’dī Shīrāzī, ed. Muḥammad ‘Alī Nāṣḥi, Bunyād Nī kūkārī Nūryānī Publication, 1354/1974, p. 18).
[ Nasli M. Heeramaneck (Indian, 1902–1971), New York, until 1937; sold to Kahn family]; Kahn family, by descent (1937–74; sold to MMA by Dr. E.A. Kahn on behalf ofhis daughter, Mrs. Barbara Potter, Germany)
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet. "M. H. De Young Memorial Museum, February 24 to March 22, 1937." In Exhibition of Islamic Art. San Francisco, 1937. no. 3, p. 23.
Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). p. 24, ill. p. 24 (b/w).
Wickens, G., and Sa'di. Morals Pointed and Tales Adorned : The Bustan of Sa'di. Persian heritage series; no. 17. Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1978. p. 7.
Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 95, ill. fig. 72 (color).
Gruber, Christiane. "Representations of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Painting." Muqarnas vol. 26 (2009). p. 239, ill. fig. 6 (color).
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 136A, pp. 199-200, ill. p. 199 (color).
Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 42-43, ill. pl. 2 (color).