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Qur’anic Board


Not on view

Across the Sahel, Qur’anic instruction begins as early as the age of five, with the first sura (Qur’anic chapter), “Al-Fatihah.” Some pupils start with the letters of the Arabic alphabet and syllabic combinations before mastering the recitation of the text itself, which they must do accurately and melodically. Instructors would inscribe verses on wooden tablets using a reed pen and homemade ink that could be washed off and replaced with another passage. The Qur’an’s holy words are handled with care, and even the runoff water used to clean the writing board is treated with respect. Believers may drink the water or use it for spiritual or medicinal purposes.

Qur’anic Board, Wood, ink, Kangaba

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© Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY