Folio from a Falnama (Book of omens), recto: Prophet Muhammad’s night journey (Mi’raj); verso: text

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of Falnama (Book of omens); text: Persian in black nasta’liq script; recto: illustration: Prophet Muhammad’s night journey to heaven (Mi’raj); verso: text, one column, eleven lines; one of a group of twenty folios.

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Historical period(s)
Safavid period, mid 1550s-early 1560s
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
H x W: 58.9 x 44.9 cm (23 3/16 x 17 11/16 in)
Iran, Qazvin
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Manuscript, Painting

Detached manuscript folio

angel, Buraq, Falnama, heaven, Henri Vever collection, Iran, lion, Muhammad, paradise, prophet, Safavid period (1501 - 1722)
Provenance research underway.

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of Falnama (Book of omens); text: Persian in black nasta'liq script; recto: illustration: Prophet Muhammad's night journey to heaven (Mi'raj); verso: text, one column, eleven lines; one of a group of twenty folios.


The Ascent of the Prophet to Heaven is often conflated in Persian painting with a similar scene The Miraculous Night Journey of the Prophet. Although separate events, both depict Muhammad riding the fabled Buraq, a steed described as having a tail and feet like a camel's, a rump like a horse's, and an emerald saddle, pearl reins, and turquoise stirrups. The presence of the lion in the upper left corner of this painting, however, distinguishes the image from other portrayals of either the ascent to heaven or the night journey. The animal is a symbolic representation of Ali, the prophet's son-in-law, whom Shi´ites call the "lion of God."

Published References
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  • Rachel Milstein, Karin Rührdanz, Barbara Schmitz. Stories of the Prophets: Illustrated Manuscripts of Qisas al-Anbiya. Islamic Art and Architecture Series, no. 8 Costa Mesa, California. p. 70.
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  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 171, pp. 138, 142.
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  • B. W. Robinson. L'Orient d'un collectionneur: miniatures persanes, textiles, céramiques, orfévrerie rassemblés par Jean Pozzi: collections du Musée d'art et d'histoire-Genève, du Musée historique des tissus et du Musée des arts décoratifs-Lyon. Exh. cat. Geneva. no. 89-92, pp. 235-256.
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  • Jan Rypka. History of Iranian Literature. Dordrecht, Holland. pp. 675-6.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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