"Muhammad's Call to Prophecy and the First Revelation", Folio from a Majma' al-Tavarikh (Compendium of Histories)

Author: Hafiz-i Abru (d. 1430)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1425

Geography: Attributed to present-day Afghanistan, Herat

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper

Dimensions: Painting: H. 6 1/8 in. (15.5 cm)
W. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm)
Page: H. 16 7/8 in. (42.8 cm)
W. 13 1/4 in. (33.7 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956

Accession Number:


In the capital city of Herat, the scholar and writer Hafiz-i Abru was commissioned by the Timurid ruler Shah Rukh (r. 1405–47) to write a massive world history, beginning with Adam, as was traditional, down to his own time. The resulting manuscripts were heavily illustrated in a somewhat simplified but effectively direct style. In this picture, the angel Gabriel, whose role is to transmit God's revelations, appears as an actively commanding presence in complete contrast to the concentrated receptivity of the Prophet