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Marabout Tablet


Not on view

Muslim traders and clerics were the custodians of literacy in Arabic. In its emphasis on apprenticeship and memorization of fixed texts, clerical pedagogy resembled the training of oral historians or griots. A special group of scholars, known as ulama, studied and imparted their understanding of Allah’s original revelation to Muhammad in the holy book of the Qur’an and the prophetic tradition of the hadith. The text on this clerical board features verses of poetry by Imru’l Qays and d’al-Nabigha al-Jaadi.

Marabout Tablet, Wood, Senegal

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