Calligrapher: Sultan Muhammad Nur (ca. 1472–ca. 1536)
Present-day Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, probably Bukhara and Herat
Ink, gold, and colors on paper
page: H. 11 in. (27.9 cm), W. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Purchase, Louis V. Bell Fund and The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 1974 (1974.294.2)
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 micraj, 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.