Manuscript: ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Binding: leather and gold
H. 6 in (15.25 cm)
W. 4 in (10.16 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Islamic Art Gifts, 2014
Not on view
This small prayer book, or du'anama, belongs to a corpus of illustrated devotional texts produced in the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when most prayer books were unillustrated. This one contains twenty-nine drawings of traditional Islamic themes and subjects, which are outlined in gold and fillled with prayers in ghubar (minute, dustlike) naskhi script. These include representations of the Ka'ba, the footprints (kadem) of the Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of Solomon, the bifurcated sword of 'Ali (zu'l fiqar), Noah's ark, the lamp of the Prophet, the trumpet of the Archangel Israfil, and the cave from the story of the Seven Sleepers in the Qur'an, among others. The manuscript is signed and dated by the calligrapher, a prominent mid-eighteenth-century master known for his calligrams and pictorial calligraphic compositions, such as the galleon with inscriptions referring to the story of the Seven Sleepers also in the Metropolitan's collection (2003.241). It also contains collectors' stamps dating to the first half of the nineteenth century. The leather binding is decorated with stamped and gilded medallions within a simple border. Prayer manuals enjoyed wide popularity in the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a time of political reform and religious revivalism. Used for individual prayer, they also served as mediational devices to protect, comfort, and heal their owners.
[ Art market, Nairobi, Kenya, until 1973; sold to Cammann]; Steve Cammann, Philadelphia, PA (1973–2013; sold to Bauman); [ Bauman Rare Books, New York, 2013–14; sold to MMA through James CumminsBookseller, New York]
James Cummins Bookseller. Catalogue 120, Fall Arrivals. New York, 2013. no. 43, p. 32, ill. (color).