Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed

Ms. Suppl. Turc. 190 - Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)

Alternate Titles:

Miraj Nameh, Mi‘rajnama: The Book of the Prophet Muhammads' Ascension, Mi´ragnama: Apocalipsis de Mahoma, Miradschname: Das Buch der Himmelfahrt des Propheten Mohammed, Le Livre de l'Ascension du Prophète Mahommed, Il Libro dell’Ascensione del Profeta Maometto, O livro da Ascensão do Profeta Maomé

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Miraj Nameh
Mi‘rajnama: The Book of the Prophet Muhammads' Ascension
Mi´ragnama: Apocalipsis de Mahoma
Miradschname: Das Buch der Himmelfahrt des Propheten Mohammed
Le Livre de l'Ascension du Prophète Mahommed
Il Libro dell’Ascensione del Profeta Maometto
O livro da Ascensão do Profeta Maomé

Type
Extent / Format

70 pages / 34.5 x 24.5 cm

Origin
Date
Circa 1436-1437
Style
Genre
Language
Patron

Shah Rukh (Timurid ruler)

Artist / School

Timurid's style

Illustrations

61 full-page miniatures illuminated in gold

Former owners

Jean-Baptiste Colbert

Short description

In the National Library of France in Paris, a meaningful testimony of Islamic and Central Asian Manuscript art is found: also under the title Miraj-Name, this grandly illustrated manuscript depicts the ascension of Mohammed. The Uyghur Manuscript from the 15th century retains its colorfully magnificent miniatures of the rarely pictorially depicted Islamic Prophet. In wondrous, very ornamental and also realistically designed pictures, the story of Mohammed is explained, which explores the different spheres of Heaven with the angel Gabriel.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed

In the National Library of France in Paris, a meaningful testimony of Islamic and Central Asian Manuscript art is found: also under the title Miraj-Name, this grandly illustrated manuscript depicts the ascension of Mohammed. The Uyghur Manuscript from the 15th century retains its colorfully magnificent miniatures of the rarely pictorially depicted Islamic Prophet. In wondrous, very ornamental and also realistically designed pictures, the story of Mohammed is explained, which explores the different spheres of Heaven with the angel Gabriel.
A Grand Testimony to Timurid Art
Originated in 1436 in **Herat
, in what current day Afghanistan, the so-called Mi’ragnama stands as a premier example of oriental manuscript art of the 16th century. It was allegedly finished for Shah Rukh, who was an important patron. He was the son of Timurs, the founders of the Timurid Dynasty in Central Asian, which today consists of the areas of Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan. Under his ruler ship, a cultural bloom occurred within the empire, especially in the area of literature and art. Despite Islam prohibition of pictures of Mohammed, if anything, he was depicted with a masked face. Therefore, in around 1300, the first drawings of the Prophet appeared. The miniatures of the Paris Mi’ragnama show him in a circle with other people, with only one of them having an open face.

The Wondrous Story of Mohammed’s Ascendance

The gorgeous manuscript of the Mi’ragnama is assumedly finished by the Timurid Baysungur*. The text is not in Arabic, but rather composed in the **Uyghur language, which indicates the development of the national language of the Timuridian Court. Still, the actual highpoint of the manuscript are the 61 miniatures. In unbelievably striking ways, the story of the ascendance of the Prophet Muhammed together with the Angel Gabriel is explained. The Angel Gabriel’s visit with Mohammed and his subsequent invitation to his ascendance is depicted.
Together with the Angel, Mohammed embarks thereafter on a journey towards heaven, where he visits the various spheres and parts of heaven. These events are depicted in multiple ways in the countless miniatures.
The ornamental design of the grandly colored miniatures are quite impressive. Not only is the background often rather ornamentally decorated, even the sky with its constant white clouds appear beautifully. The large formatted images are raised in their magnificence and splendor through the rich application of gold. The oriental style of painting, especially clear through the ornamentation and all of the gold, mixes itself excitingly with Central Asian influences. Thusly arises the not only Muslim, but also for Western observer a very impressive depiction of the Ascendance of the Prophet Mohammed.

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