"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

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:


Shah Rukh (r. 1405–47), son of Timur, commissioned Hafiz‑i Abru to write an extensive world history, beginning with Adam and continuing down to his own time. Early manuscript copies of the text are heavily illustrated in a simple, direct style—as seen in this example. Here, the angel Gabriel appears to the Prophet Muhammad, calling him to spread the word of God, and transmitting to him the first of God’s revelations—which would become the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an.